Having spent some portion of my career over the past seven years involved in disaster recovery, I'm not unfamiliar with the damage flood waters can do. In 2005 I spent time in New Orleans with teams of folks clearing out houses that had been filled to the roof with water. It makes six inches seem like a picnic. But when the six inches of water is in your home it's no picnic. It is an interesting experience, however, to sit on the side of the 'victim' of a disaster instead of the disaster responder.
As we begin the process of cleaning up, filing insurance claims, replacing ruined stuff and putting things back in order, I'm struck with how similar this process is to restoring charity. I've written many posts (though few recently) about how our charitable efforts have devastated communities around the world. It's way past time to fix that. Here are a few lessons I've learned from the flood.
- Water is a good thing in proper proportion and when delivered in a controlled fashion.
- Uncontrolled water can't be stopped and makes a mess of everything because it goes everywhere.
- Water doesn't go away until the source is cut off and recedes.
- Once water does go away it leaves a mess behind that must be dealt with or worse problems develop (rot, mold, mildew, disease, etc.).
- Some things can be salvaged but some things are forever ruined and must be thrown away.
- Clean-up can be done by an individual but bringing in a team makes the work much more bearable.
- Fixing some of the damage requires experts with training and experience.
- Closing off the damaged space and letting it dry out on its own is never an acceptable strategy.