Editorial: We should all be ready

Good health is the cornerstone of a fulfilling life. Ask anyone who has had their health compromised, either by illness (cancer, diabetes, HIV, for starters) or physical injury.

Complain as we do, Canadians have access to some pretty decent health care. We have doctors, medicine and hospitals.

But watching the tsunami coverage and devastation in Japan highlights how easily that good health, access to doctors, and clean, effective hospitals can be taken away.

With one fatal swoop, all that we’ve built up as a civilization can be eliminated. And the first thing to go is your health.

Immediately after a disaster, each victim is clinging to life in some way. For many victims of the recent tsunami, the most essential item they needed was medicine — medicine that was floating away, or had run out, or was left behind when they evacuated.

After medication comes clean water. Without it, we lack the basic ability to care for ourselves. We know that water is quickly contaminated following a disaster. Yet, how many Canadians have a clean and ready water supply?

The lack of food, warmth, shelter and communication will only compound the devastation. And with the water from Japan’s earthquake swelling waters on our own west coast, we should all realize by now that disaster could happen, very close to home.

Even here, in the sheltered Fraser Valley, a ripple effect of disaster is highly likely. Communications would be affected. Our emergency services, food supply, roads, housing and water could all be drained. Many of us would be worrying about friends and family closer to the water, should a tsunami affect British Columbia.

Are you ready? Watch next week’s paper for coverage on local emergency preparedness.

-Agassiz Harrison Observer

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