Why do so many people fail to get out of the way of hurricanes when they have plenty of time to do so? Every time a hurricane hits, there are numerous stories of those who stayed in the path of the storm. In the past, I have not been sympathetic with those who “hunkered down” and then needed rescue and other assistance. Why didn’t they just get out when they had the chance?
As I watched the Weather Channel this weekend, I learned an answer, and I felt chastened for my uncharitable response in the past. A woman shared with a reporter that she and her husband “just didn’t have the money” to evacuate.
Money. It had not crossed my mind that evacuation from a dangerous place might have a cost attached. Relatives of friends of mine had journeyed to Dallas from Houston and Port Lavaca (right on the coast) to stay with my friends. Certainly not cost-free, but only a tank of gas and food money. Of course, that assumes people have cars and the money to fill the tank, and relatives living outside the danger zone who can take them in.
For those without someone to take them in, the bravado of “Oh, I’ve been through hurricanes before. I’m just going to hunker down and ride this out,” may actually be rooted in the lack of money for gas, hotel, and food away from home.
Now that I have a different understanding of why people sometimes stay in obviously dangerous weather situations, I can be the person I want to be. I can be charitable in thought and I have called the Red Cross to make a donation to help those in need. You can contact the American Red Cross to donate by phone or to get assistance with your donation. Please contact them at 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669).