Across the world, most countries are subject to varying natural disasters that are life-threatening and usually of high probabilities, bearing in mind their geological conditions and climate. Many of these are clearly defined and even explained in insurance policies. What do I mean? Well, Jamaica may not have to insure against snow storms, and the mid-Canadians may not insure against hurricanes. However, it is fair to assume that nearly all regions have their own perils.

Now we can add to the list biological disasters. Cholera, smallpox, polio, varying flu viruses, chick-v, zika, and others forgotten or yet to be discovered have invaded our lives. For many of these, they are not predictable by region, climate, geo-physical characteristics, or plant life. As they cannot be seen by the naked eye, they surround us without our knowledge, and pop out dramatically like the serial killer in a horror movie like Michael Myers in 10 sequels.

These disparate disasters have a few things in common; but the most usual factor is that “seeing is believing”. Put another way, if you haven’t experienced it you are inclined to ignore or fail to treat it seriously.

For those who have never experienced a major hurricane, it may arrive in the middle of a “hurricane party” and people will be trapped. Also, a tsunami warning after a major earthquake may not be the best time to go surfing and catch the big waves.

If I am remotely correct, then the anticipation of the possible severity of a particular disaster may be a generational thing. As you retain the memories of the horrific events, the severity of their potential destruction is a real event, not a Hollywood movie. It requires previous experiences gained in order to know what to expect and do. As one reggae hit said “yu ever get a shot to feel how it hot”; meaning experience teaches wisdom.

When you have a bad bellyache, then Granny’s bush tea may be better than some modern medicine prescribed by a doctor (who doesn’t make house calls in the middle of the night). In Jamaica, folk remedies including cerasee; aloe vera; washout; and ganja soaked in white rum are just a few readily remembered.

So let me ask you a simple question: Why do you keep all of the so-called old people locked up at home and don’t even ask for their help even by Zoom? The country is in lockdown and quarantine and the bright young people have never seen “51 storm” or the food shortages of the 1970s. We are thinking that a group of inexperienced people (although “well educated” overseas) can quickly get up to speed, when speed is of the essence.

Don’t get me wrong. The younger generation will become the experts of COVID-19 in the future but may need just a little help before the geriatrics transition to a better place. Arthritis does not incapacitate your brain; there is still a master’s league; and perhaps Granny knows more than Nanny. Sometimes a street vendor knows more about plain survival than a banker.

So they agree to set up committees to scientifically study the characteristics and methodology of fire even as the flames surround us and the temperatures are rising rapidly. We await study grants, and external aid from people in the same plight who look after themselves first and, if any is left, will feed us the crumbs.

I applaud the efforts of the Government, but the easily predictable developments and their organization have been slow in preparation and execution.

Nostradamus may still be right in some of his predictions and forewarnings. For us in Jamaica, we may well need Granny.

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