Lessons to be learnt after floods
THE worst of times brings out the best in many people.
We have certainly seen that over the last few days as gales and torrential rain lashed the city.
As usual, our emergency services were magnificent. We can only highlight a small fraction of the incidents in which selfless members of the police, fire brigade and ambulance service put themselves in danger to safeguard others. Then there are our lifeboat crews who stood ready to venture into mountainous seas to save lives. And let us not forget that army of council staff, utility employees and other workers who battled through atrocious conditions to help keep us safe, warm and dry.
And of course, there were the countless acts of kindness and generosity between neighbours and strangers as we came together as a community to bear the brunt of that savage storm.
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But our pride and gratitude to those who did so much to protect us is no reason for complacency. We appear to be entering an era of extreme weather and we need to learn lessons to adapt to our changing climate and improve our resilience.
It is up to each and every one of us to show some basic common sense and allow emergency workers to get on with the business of saving the victims of unavoidable catastrophe. Over the weekend the authorities had to spend valuable time issuing repeated appeals and warnings to stop some people putting themselves in harm's way. Don't travel if you can avoid it, slow down if you can't, plan ahead to protect yourself and your property, don't go sightseeing in affected areas – simple advice which can save lives.
And when the waters subside it is right that our city's leaders take an honest look at how they coped with the extreme demands placed on them. They need to carefully consider what they will do differently next time.
And questions remain over the flooding that repeatedly closed Gdynia Way even before the worst of the rain arrived. Hopes that a stray lump of concrete was to blame for the overflowing sewer were quickly dashed as floods again shut the road hours after the blockage was removed. The question remains as to whether the problems on this revamped key route were caused by a blockage, a once in a lifetime deluge or a problem with design.
One thing is certain – we will see more downpours of the sort that have caused so many problems. It is essential that we are prepared as individuals and as a city to learn the lessons that will allow us to build on the many successes of recent days and deal with such events even better in the future.