Hurricane Patricia – the strongest ever recorded, with winds of up to 265 kph – made landfall on Mexico’s Pacific coast on Friday. It inflicted extensive damage to infrastructure but no lives were lost, thanks to early warnings and mass evacuations.
This underscores the importance of having a good plan in place in the event of natural disaster. Scientific and technological advances have led to marked improvements in the quality of hazard warnings, and in the operation of integrated observation networks. But early warning systems do little good unless they are followed by early action. Mexico offers a valuable lesson in this regard.
While we are unlikely to face a storm such as Patricia, this region is prone to earthquakes and Oman recently suffered flash flooding. We should all ask ourselves: would I know what to do in case of emergency?