Unprecedented times, again
Over the course of this last week we have seen the absolute devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle throughout Aotearoa. Not only have a large number of families been displaced but, unthinkably, lives have been lost. Agriculture and infrastructure have been deeply affected. Entire communities remain without even the basics of life – power, water, or a way to access help.
And before that, dare I say it, unprecedented times. The largest amount of rainfall in a single day in Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Tai Tokerau. States of Emergency across the North Island. Devastating flooding with far-reaching consequences, leaving the ground sodden underneath a cataclysmic wake of destruction.
With the NZSA we offer our sincerest condolences to all of you whose lives have been affected. Just writing these words feels too small to convey how much we empathise with our members, their whānau and their communities.
On a personal level, the red-stickering of my beloved family bach at Piha has created a deep ache and sorrow that is difficult to verbalise. The realisation that the seeping nature of our grief is beyond bricks and mortar, or possessions; things that can be replaced. That our taonga has been lost.
Now, the mahi really begins. Because whilst these natural disasters capture headlines and attention short-term, the work of recovery and rebuilding is long. There is no quick fix. Families, communities and regions will now need to rebuild their homes, livelihoods and infrastructure before they will be able to see light at the end of the tunnel. And for some, this will also be a journey they must venture whilst under the weight of grief, a deeply difficult road ahead.
Over the past week our Anaesthesia community were quick with offers of assistance to those worst impacted via our networks and committees. As do these weather events heighten the need and value of the tireless work of our Environmental and Sustainability Committee.
Every corner of this country has seen the impact of a natural disaster in recent years, from earthquakes to fires, floods, and volcanic eruptions. As communities, we mourn together, and we work together to pick up the pieces. Whilst those of us fortunate not to have been as affected by Gabrielle may not be able to offer much help right now, we can join them a little further down the road. Even by visiting, and bringing our tourist spend to those communities when they are ready. Perhaps some Tairāwhiti seafood, some Hawke’s Bay Syrah, some Te Tai Tokerau sunshine.
I, for one, am looking forward to enjoying these in plain old precedented times.
Kia haumaru koutou katoa
Photo credit: Tim Mossholder on Unsplash