Caribbean and Americas Pummeled by Natural Disasters
By Nathan Purtell
Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Southeast Texas, adding to a decade of extreme flooding in the state, and following the trend of more extreme hurricanes in the Caribbean. The state was inundated with as much as 51 inches of rain in some areas, with the Houston metro area being covered in many feet of water, reports Weather.com. The storm is estimated to cost the U.S. upwards of $190 million.
In response to the damage that Harvey caused in Texas, Mexico offered its support to the United States, reports the Washington Post. This support was extend by Mexico despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s past inflammatory remarks towards America’s southern neighbor. In the past, Trump has tweeted that Mexico has one of the highest crime rates, therefore, needed to pay for his proposed border wall, and threatening to pull out of NAFTA because of the difficult renegotiations.
Early Monday morning of September 11, Hurricane Irma blasted through Cuba. With sustained winds of 155 mph, the storm was a category three and then rose to a category four. Seven million people were forced to evacuate in the U.S. The state of Florida was forced to make special preparations including making all freeway lanes northbound and expediting fuel trucks to aid the mass exodus, reports MSNBC.
Moving north, Irma was downgraded to a category four tropical storm and then to a tropical depression, CBS reports.
Behind Irma is Hurricane Jose, which is expected to narrowly miss the east coast of the United States, reports USA Today. Reports suggest that Jose may travel further north than Irma. Warmer waters on the Atlantic coast of the United States in recent years has allowed hurricanes to travel further north and strengthen them.
The effects of climate change are now being felt in the United States in the form of storms. However, the United States is not the only country facing the negative effects of climate change. A Tsunami of 1.75 meters was measured on the Pacific coast, with warnings coming in New Zealand.
Shortly after offering to help the U.S., Mexico experienced an 8.1 magnitude earthquake off its western coast, reports CNN. As of September 12, the death count was a total of ninety-six people, with the number expected to rise.
Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto mobilized the Mexican army to supplement the response to the earthquake. The absence of President Trump’s condolences pushed Mexico to rescind their offer to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, adding that they would need the resources for their own relief efforts.
Even as the southeastern U.S. experiences unprecedented storms and flooding, the current administration remains indecisive and vague on the concept of climate change.
These storms come a few months after the United States pulled out of the landmark Paris Accords, reports NBC. The accords were an attempt by member states to meet the goal of keeping warming under 2 degrees Celsius, reports PBC.
The U.S. joined Syria and Nicaragua as the only states that haven’t agreed with the accords. With Nicaragua opting not to as they believed the accords are not strict enough. As a result, an unlikely coalition of cities, governors, and states have gone to pave the way towards climate action, reports National Geographic.
The implications of more advanced effects of climate change in the U.S., coupled with a U.S. administration that refuses to acknowledge the reality of climate change, have led to a discontinuity in international norms and courtesy with respect to natural disasters.