Thursday, November 11, 2010

Storm Damage

This hurricane season has been an active one. Hurricane Earl, a category IV storm, blasted past within 15 miles of our shores, scouring a few of the smaller islands in it's path. Taking shelter from the 90mph winds (15 miles from the eye and our winds were only in the cat. 1 level), we hunkered down at a friend's house with cases of water and beer, having ourselves a short-lived hurricane party.

We returned to our apartment to find the sea had made it to our front porch, but thankfully no further. Our apartment and belongings were safe. Some other people were not so fortunate. Dozens of boats were wrecked in the storm and millions of dollars of damage were done do docks, roads, marinas and buildings.

Earl struck two days into the new school year. After setting up our classrooms and having students for two days, we had to pack everything back up, wrap it in plastic and batten the hatches incase of water damage. Earl was good for two days off of school.

As the weeks went by, we dodged bullet after bullet as other storms whizzed by to the north or south of us. A few unnamed tropical depressions did their worst and caused some of the most destructive flooding here since records have been kept.

Then, in 36 hours we received more than 22 inches of rain. School was canceled for a few days due to that one, as well. In the midst of it, my girlfriend and I were suffering through Dengue Fever. Good timing.

When you couple absolutely no enforcement of environmental regulations with any amount of precipitation, not to mention the rains we've been having lately, stuff like this happens:

Anyone who wants to can build a house ANYWHERE they want. And if there isn't a road taking you to your plot of land, cut one through the forest, forget about engineering adequate drainage or setting up silt fences, and sit back as the slightest rain leeches tons and tons of mud into the ocean, smothering the reefs around this island.

I have only been here for roughly 16 months, but in that short amount of time I have witnessed a large-scale decline in the health of the reefs surrounding this island. Makes you wonder about how amazing this place probably was even 10 or 20 years ago.

The Tragedy of the Commons is playing itself out on a million stages throughout this world, our front yard is only one of them.


Ryan said...

Wow! Those are some powerful pictures.

The Average Joe Fisherman

El Pescador said...

great piece and great always.