Hurricane Harvey aftermath shows need for infrastructure overhaul


During this past month, Hurricane Harvey has wreaked havoc on the southern United States. As many as 50 people lost their lives to the storm and the damage in Texas and Louisiana is between $70 and $200 billion. People around the United States rushed to the aid of those affected, setting politics aside. Countless homes have been submerged due to heavy rainfall and flooding. There have been mass evacuations put in place and a state of emergency declared by both governors Greg Abbott of Texas and John Bel Edwards of Louisiana.   

This tragic event should serve as a reminder that nature is unexpected and harsh. In 2012, New York faced Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the Eastern Seaboard. Many New Yorkers know all too well what it is like not to have electricity and be stuck inside of one’s house with limited supplies.

However, the United States must learn from past experiences. How can one minimize the damage hurricanes inflict on communities?

A modern New Deal is necessary to make sure that we are not as vulnerable in the future. Just fixing what is damaged is not enough. We must go further. We cannot change the course of a hurricane, but we can change how well our communities are able to withstand the enormous rainfall and the high winds.

The United States has a chance to create plenty of jobs that strengthen drainage systems and infrastructure, which could potentially save millions of homes and buildings. Efforts must be made to convert buildings to serve as adequate shelters during times of disaster. State governments could put more money into funding research and development with the sole purpose of combatting the effects of natural disasters. Even though rainfall was relatively high this year, it is likely to increase in the future due to climate change.

There are small steps being taken around the world toward an environmental revolution and there is a chance for the U.S. federal government to reconsider its approach. More people are realizing that there is more to be done and that the systems in place at the moment are not adequate. It is an outrage that the federal government can allocate the amount that it does toward the military, but not on safeguarding those back home.

Politicians love to cry that they do not have enough money when it comes to health care or building infrastructure. Yet, when it comes to Afghanistan or Iraq, the funding seems to be bottomless. The unsettling dismissiveness that President Donald Trump shows in response to phenomena like climate change only adds to the recklessness and disregard of those in Washington. Politicians are not doing all they can to ensure the safety of their constituents.

The visions of politicians are incredibly shortsighted, considering that most of them will not be in office when the effects of their policies will be felt.

Sometimes, U.S. citizens tend to have the outlook that only what happens in the United States is important.

The country should realize that, by taking responsibility and caring for its people, it could be setting an example for those around the world to follow. The United States has an opportunity to show world leaders that everyone should unite to aid those in need and reconstruct current systems. It is necessary to ensure that future events do not have the catastrophic effects that they have had in the recent past.

Hurricanes are one of nature’s many deadly weapons. However, the problem is not nature. The problem is humankind’s need to learn how to withstand these catastrophes and minimize their impacts on communities. The United States has the willpower and the capabilities to lead the world in infrastructure.

Current residents must think of future Americans, so that they will not have to suffer like those who stand in Hurricane Harvey’s path.

OpinionsAhsan MushtaqComment