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Hello Mi Neighbour | Disasters have no respect for colour, race or creed

Published:Tuesday | September 26, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Residents float down a flooded street in Havana atop a large piece of styrofoam, after the passing of Hurricane Irma in Cuba recently.
Lucita Leonce 71, salvages items from her home flooded by heavy rains brought on by Hurricane Irma, in Fort-Liberte, Haiti.

Hello mi neighbour! Disasters are calamitous events which cause great damage or destruction to the human family, and can strike without warning. They are stark reminders of human interdependence as well as their dependence on the Almighty. It is instructive therefore, to live selflessly. Disasters have no respect for colour, race or creed. They throw us into tailspins making us vulnerable, often leaving us no option, for survival, but to accept help from even an enemy.

These disasters which produce negative and positive outcomes often evoke frenzied selfishness as people become desperate for survival or change of fortunes. On the other hand, researchers found that "natural and man-made disasters are followed by increases in altruistic behaviour" across all cultures.

Commentators on Hurricane Katrina, which hit the US mainland some years ago, said that despite rumours of horrific crimes, the experience for most people during the crisis was one of coming together.

"While there were well-documented instances of brutal hijacking, rioting, and looting in New Orleans after the flooding, there were many more reports of altruism, cooperation, and camaraderie among the affected population."

With hotels taking in homeless families, people of all races holding hands and praying together, morale, which was at an all-time low, got a tremendous boost. One author says in her book that the surge in kindness during the disaster kept the great majority of people calm.




Calamities tend to act as a catalyst in pulling away people from trivial anxieties and preoccupations that add no real value to life. In some ways, people behave better and are more willing to forgive the good, the bad, and the ugly as they come to grips with the true meaning of life and the importance of social connections in everyday life.

We are designed so that our stress systems can be soothed by social support: The calming words or gentle touch of loved ones (even from infancy) creates a bonding, which helps to lower levels of stress hormones. Strong social support improves health in multiple ways, acting primarily through its effects on the stress system.

During disasters, our social networks play a vital role in our survival: The more connections we have, and the stronger our bonds with each other, the better it is for us physically and emotionally. It's when we face the toughest times that our true nature reveals itself: We need others. No one wants to face catastrophe alone.

With recent hurricanes and earthquakes leaving millions in the Western Hemisphere without permanent places of abode, etc., many face enormous emotional and physical pain. But as others rally around, they are reminded that kindness from others always helps to cushion the blow from 'others'. And may this reminder guide our steps today!

Much peace.




- Melissa, for offering a bunk bed to Millie, St Andrew.

- Patricia, St Andrew for giving a sewing machine to Elaine, St Andrew.

- Shareka and Shenika, Trelawny, for donation of clothing for boys and men.

- Claudette, St Catherine, for donating a part of a settee.

- Neighbour, St Andrew, for offering to assist grandmother who needs help with BTS.

- Neighbour, St Andrew, for offering literature books to students.




- Neighbour - Sickle cell patient asking for fabric to sew bed linen for a living.

- Elaine, Kingston - Asking for shoes and clothing for church - size seven shoes.

- Neighbour, St Ann - Mother of four boys ages: 10, nine, eight and seven asking for uniforms, books, bags for school.

- Neighbour, Andrew - Retiree trying construct a little house needs a toilet bowl.

- Neighbour - Asking for help to fix roof which is coming down.

- Navlet, senior citizen - needs a wheelchair and a bed.

- Shereka - Asking for a school bag and a pair of brown shoes.

- Gwen, St Ann - Asking for a sewing machine and a gas stove. Unable work because of ill health.

- To help, please call Silton Townsend @ 334-8165, 884-3866, or deposit to acct # 351 044 276 NCB. (Bank routing #: JNCBJMKX) or send donations to HELLO NEIGHBOUR C/o 53 Half Way Tree Road, Kingston 10; Paypal/credit card: email: Or contact e-mail