The Mercury News
By Marcela Davison Aviles
There is a saying that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. That seems to be the case with nature’s lesson plan in California and Mexico.
The teachable moments from Mexico’s recent quakes and Wine Country fires resonate, and not only because of our historical and familial ties. The combination of technology, human ingenuity and resilience which emerged as the ground shook and fire enveloped us provides wisdom for the next catastrophe.
But some truths are perpetual when disaster hits.
First, when nature slams us, the poor get hit the hardest. Data from the journal Nonprofit Quarterly compared damage suffered in Haiti from a 7.0 earthquake near Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010, to an 8.8 quake hitting Chile six weeks later. The Haiti quake killed an estimated 200,000 people. In Chile, the death toll was 525. The difference is measured in Haiti’s poverty.
The situations in Mexico and California was no different. The 2017 September quake killed nearly 400 and destroyed or damaged thousands of buildings. In Northern California, 42 were killed, with 8,400 structures and over 140,000 acres destroyed.