I live in South-east Queensland, in Australia, which is currently suffering terrible flooding in a number of areas. I watch the news each night, to find out what is happening. It is horrifying to hear story after story of people who have had homes and businesses ruined by flood waters. Whole townships have been flooded, and the damage is almost incalculable.
My feelings are very, very torn over all of this. On one hand, you have the issue of governments, Federal, state and local which have all failed to plan properly for events like this (far from the first time major floods have occurred). Each tier blames another for things that should have been done (like building new levy banks and maintaining existing ones). There will be more fighting in the future as there will be roads and other publicly maintained structures to be repaired or replaced. And certainly, it is fair and reasonable for people to expect those who govern to plan for disasters and do their best to avoid or at least minimise such disasters.
But then I look at other aspects. In some ways, people have become too dependent on having someone (the nanny state) there to rescue them in times of need. Looking at the news footage, there appear to be many houses and other buildings which are lowset (built at ground level). Now in this state, not so many years ago, people generally built and lived in highset homes (up on poles,many feet above the ground). The people who built these houses knew that there could be floods, and they planned accordingly, so that flood waters would flow under their buildings and not through them. But new highset buildings are a rarity these days. People rely on governments to have flood management strategies in place (having faith in governments being a monumental error right there) and so, fail to take steps to protect themselves, their homes and businesses, families, etc.
People need to get over this attitude. Yes, the governments failed in their duty to the people they (supposedly) serve. But we cannot depend on others to take over our personal responsibility to ourselves. We cannot be dependent. We cannot be apathetic. We have incredibly large, complex brains, and it is time people started using them to think with.
Individuals in this disaster could have done more to protect themselves and their properties. They could have thought ahead, planned and been better prepared for a disaster like this. People need to think, for example,”I live in a flood plain. It makes sense to build a house that sits high above the ground”. Yes, it may cost a bit more to build that house…but it costs a lot more when water has been sitting in your house for a week, virtually all you possessions are destroyed, and your house needs to be gutted and re-finished to be liveable again. There is a reason insurance companies won’t insure against flood damage in these areas…because they have assessed the likelihood of major floods, and determined that floods will occur, over and over again. Yet individuals fail to think for themselves, see these same risks, and plan for them.
You see, Noah built the ark to rescue the animals. Animals aren’t capable of thinking, planning, preparing, and someone had to do it for them. But humans? They are capable and so there was no ark for them. There is no ark for people today. We have to take control of our own lives, our own destinies, and stop relying on others. We have to learn to take care of ourselves and our families, and relegate the roles of support institutions of any kind to genuine emergencies, and not as a safety net for our own foolishness, failure to use our brains as intended, and general lack of selfcare.