Thursday, 12 January 2006

Living with bad weather

The Herald has an article about the first anniversary of the hurricane of 2005, discussing some of the issues with causeways.

I've been lucky enough to visit the West Indies a number of times for cricket-related reasons. Though unlucky enough to be there for not one, but two, hurricanes. People are used to them; they toddle down to the local storm shelter, drink rum and play dominos, and generally have a good time. When it goes quiet for the second time (the first time being when the eye passes over), people get out, fix up their houses, and carry on as before.

Okay, it's a completely different socio-economic situation to Scotland, and to the Outer Hebrides. But we don't live in hurricane or tornado alley, or any of the other large swathes of the world prone to typhoons or other regular extreme weather. Many millions of people do; they have adapted to it, and don't evacuate.

So it is annoying when somone is interviewed who says that unless things are done quickly, the Outer Hebrides will "go the same way as St Kilda" and be depopulated. Utter hysterical twaddle, but it makes a nice dramatic "soundbite" for the tea-time news. We live on the stormiest part of the UK, but it isn't anything like the West Indies; there's no logical reason why people should leave the islands because of the weather. Put sensible systems in place to minimise weather damage long-term, and be done with it.

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