The lasting impact


by Adam Grant

If you have been following along the national weather for the last few weeks, you’ve heard of Hurricane Matthew. On September 25th, Matthew was originally tracked along the Cape Verde Islands where the magnificent storm was given its name. With winds reaching up to 160 miles per hour, reaching the strength of a category 5 hurricane, it became a storm at its most dangerous state. Destruction was bound to happen. As far as a tropical storm goes, Matthew was one of the most powerful to happen in quite some time. It was a category 3 storm reaching about 600 miles wide that was expected to reach up to a category 4 or 5 soon. However, the impact that it has had on the US doesn’t compare to previous hurricanes, but around the world, it is just as bad.

The deadliest hurricane to ever hit the US still happens to be the Great Galveston Hurricane in 1900. This generation was not yet born, but the storm’s impact lives on. Galveston came in as a category 4 hurricane, and without all the predictive technology now available, more than 8,000 people died due to the sudden happening of the storm. However, this generation was around for the 2005 hurricane known as Katrina. Katrina caused the US to spend more money than on any other hurricane known to man. The damages done were about 100 billion dollars!

As we all know, Hurricane Matthew was devastating in the Caribbean islands. As the storm traveled, Cuba, the Bahamas and Haiti were among the first to witness the eye of the storm. It ripped through Baracoa and it lost power after the first couple of landfalls. Unfortunately, Matthew made another landfall in Haiti and it came with full force that sent Haiti into a world of destruction. Over 40 inches of rain was to hit that small country, not to mention that its people were still recovering from an earthquake in 2010. Local officials say that over 1,000 people died in Haiti which has a population of about 10 million and is also one of the world’s poorest countries.

Haiti had just recently repaired its first road that linked to the rest of the country and had just resumed cellphone service. After many devastations to Haiti, finally, the vision of the future seemed promising, that is, until Hurricane Matthew came into play. Many homes, resources and family members were lost. A 49-year-old named Desir Luckner said, “We found my father in his home, suffering several broken bones. We carried him down the hill to get help, but he died on the way.” This hurricane has cost Haiti permanent loss. One of the saddest things from the hurricane is that the people of Haiti still have to continue with their everyday jobs and lives. Claudia said, “I lost my home, but I have to keep going because it is my livelihood.”

After destruction in Haiti, Hurricane Matthew continued on its path. The Southeast of the U.S. was next in line. Matthew approached the American coast on October 6, and although it hit hard, it was not as hard as it could have been. The eye of the hurricane was predicted to be further west; instead, it was further east and it saved devastation in Florida. Although Florida was hit badly, it can recover, unlike Haiti which took on the storm with a head-on collision.

Researching and reporting on this natural disaster has taught me a lot. The United States is a fortunate country. Many times when you hear of natural disasters, the U.S. is usually not included in the way places such as Haiti, Cuba or Bahamas are. We have the ability to fix those problems with the amount of technology, knowledge and money we have. The United States dodged a severe storm that could have resulted in many more lives being lost. Living here we tend to ignore other countries that almost daily struggle with problems. Thinking about Matthew allows those of us who get caught up in thinking that “bad things won’t happen” to realize that life is short and natural disasters really destroy homes and it could happen to you.