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After the Lava Sleeps

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lava-magma-volcanic-eruption-glow-73830-e1545088920980.jpeg

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

On December 10, 2018 a group of displaced Puna residents met at Nanawale Community Association longhouse to hear about the future of Highway 132 from representatives of the County of Hawai’i, the government entity for the region.  Approximately 25-30 people attended from the 50 or more households with no road access to their properties surrounded by the lava flow that started in early May, 2018.
Residents were forced to evacuate under pressure of advancing lava by the end of May.  Many lost everything.  While County of Hawai’i Civil Defense monitoring was robust when the volcanic eruption captured worldwide media attention, County action on rebuilding and recovery could now be characterized as listless and sporadic.

 

The county representatives began with a presentation about how they wanted the meeting to proceed. But the group would have none of that and in unison boomed out, “We want to know when will Route 132 be rebuilt! “
Many called out,  “What’s the county doing to work with the geothermal plant contractors already pushing through lava to their facility?” Again and again, people spoke out,  “When will we be able to get to our homes and farms?”
I had arrived early for the meeting and spoke with a representative of the County, learning that one of the goals for the evening was to “get people’s stories about the disaster.” This is part of an effort to reanimate news coverage and tourism after the lava flow that made countless people homeless and consumed acres of productive agricultural land, pastures and public recreational areas.
Individual stories, heartfelt examples of what the disaster has wrought on the community, families, individuals and institutions could be presented to state legislators, the county council or even the U.S. Congress to explain the extent of loss and begin to quantify needs to restore economic viability and human stability.
The greatest need from the perspective of people whose farms and homes were cut off from road access by the lava was repeated often: “We need the public roads repaired and replaced for access to our land and homes!”
The County participated in the talk story meeting with those profoundly disadvantaged by the lava inundation to ask affected residents about how visitors — tourists — could better understand the impact of the lava and show respect for local culture and Hawai’ian traditions of respect. The county is gathering thoughts from school-age youth and local residents to create a Pono ethics code for the Hawaii Tourism Authority to convey to tourism industry stake-holders and their customers.
By communicating to visitors the challenges faced by locals during and after the lava flow, officials anticipate that tourists will have a better understanding of local people’s priorities and possibly reduce potential conflicts due to lava viewing or lava tours for visitors that stray onto local family land. The County of Hawai’i website now provides facts for potential tourists to the island of Hawai’i (aka Big Island).
I was reminded by a Kama’aina friend today that Pono is not an elastic term or concept, but a specific Hawaiian word meaning ‘righteous.’ Is this righteous advice to tourists or an expression of the righteous behavior that Hawaiians expect of tourists?
How to finance repairs of the roads and how to best manage the influx of tourists in search of lava viewing thrills are the thorny questions for which no answers were offered during the meeting.

 

Can the state and county redirect a portion of the tourism promotion budget to support Puna area institutions?  Can a donation website and a Kickstarter funding platform be created to fund the road repairs and rebuild some of the Pahoa area recreational facilities damaged or obliterated during the lava flow?
Will advertising aimed at visitors feature stories of Puna residents affected by the lava? Are local institutional needs and road repairs enumerated anywhere?
Is it appropriate to encourage more visitors to the devastated area when dozens of families have no secure homes and cannot return to their property?
A social media platform where locals could share their disaster stories might illuminate the extent of loss and future needs. But how are these stories reported? Is accuracy and truth verified?  Some may not want their personal experiences publicized to attract philanthropy or curious visitors.
During the talk story phase of the evening, I heard participants around the tables offer compelling and detailed accounts of divided families, financial loss, upset, expense, sadness, great loss, as well as mental and physical exhaustion.  No one that I heard expressed that their lives have been improved by this experience and the outcomes. Many felt they’d been overlooked and ignored by the County of Hawai’i either as individuals, as families or property owners, or as a distinct group affected by the lava.
I wondered if the representatives from the various social assistance agencies who wrote notes as people shared their stories actually get the facts. Will the individuals have a chance to review their stories before they become human-interest examples to attract budget increases?  Were the oral stories accurately reported?  If these stories become part of a proposed social media platform showing how affected residents are building resilience, will individuals be able to review the content before it is made public or used in appeals to state or national legislators? As one mother stated, we residents are already demonstrating the strength and resilience described in branding phrases I noticed on handouts and other materials: Puna Pono and Volcano Eruption Recovery.
In the end, nothing concrete was offered regarding the rebuilding of Route 132 except that a Risk Assessment will be done by the Univ. of Hawaii Manoa.  The “risk” being the potential liability of the road-builders on the Route 132 area. Will they encounter hot zones, active lava, lava tubes, re-eruption, and other hazards.
I hope the Risk Assessment team are not just keyboard desk jockeys with spreadsheets working on another island.  I hope they consult onsite vulcanologists 
Old settled lava.
and geographers and social scientists and community-based psychologists.  There is more at risk than what the lava presents.
It’s time for an end to the slow-walking and expecting residents to solve their own access problems. Distracting the affected people with platitudes and soft strategies like story telling, identifying community needs, or school involvement,  instead of providing direct leadership and specific actions. Public road building is the responsibility of the local government.
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Would You Hire This Guy?

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Resume for November Hire.

Written by patwa

26/07/2012 at 1:25 pm

Iatrogenic Disease :: Hello Hospitals?

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[Photo too disturbing to publish goes here]

Flesh, cells and protein rot.  You’ve seen vegetables disintegrating into piles of squashed odor and off-beat color.  You’ve smelled rancid milk.  You didn’t eat that meat or the fish that seemed a little off. You know that wounds are risky sites.

Social niceness keeps us in the dark about the decadent reality of human flesh. It rots fast.  My great grand-aunt went  to gangrene (we’re so sorry, it was a hospital infection, as they used to say) while in hospital care  for a broken bone in a suburb of Washington, DC that begins with B.  I was six years old and I’ve never forgotten the odor, her pain and death.

Political and business interests avoid revealing the facts of iatrogenic disease, which is a fancy name for infection that starts in medical settings — clinics, emergency rooms, ICU, surgeries, waiting rooms, examining rooms, and all the other places where practitioners of all stripes wear latex gloves but forget to wash their hands.

Read more about staph infections and the many ways they are transmitted in medical settings.  Know the symptoms and act immediately to secure proper care.  Understand how to protect yourself from infection after or during emergency care settings, particularly in certain states, provinces, regions and countries where you’d think medical care is universally top notch, but in fact, it’s not.   Not by a long shot.  Read Ivan Illich’s book Medical Nemesis.

The key to evaluating medical care  is not counting how many successful transplants or open heart surgeries occur, nor how many elaborate imaging and analytic processes are on offer, but knowing the incidence of staph infection acquired during brief emergency room encounters or infection associated with routine procedures will help you keep your flesh, and your life.

Does the U.S. Center for Disease Control weekly Morbidity and Mortality report include iatrogenic staph infection numbers?  Australia started publishing the numbers in 2011.  Does your state or country?

Did you know common staphylococcus aureus infections are resistant to medication?

Look at this mess of medical malpractice and lack of knowledge management reported by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times.  Here’s a fast solution —  Each patient on intake receives a secure wiki page in the hospital’s online LAN on which all comment, diagnosis, data, treatment and symptoms are noted so that all practitioners, family and institutions caring for the individual can monitor progress and decline.  Maybe it will prevent decline and iatrogenic disease and death.  Wikis can be created in seconds. Any medical idiot can add content and there are certainly plenty of them to go around.

Florida  2012

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57431162-10391704/aimee-copeland-24-battles-flesh-eating-necrotizing-fasciitis-following-zip-lining-accident/

“…was zip-lining last Tuesday near her home with her friends when she suffered a cut on her calf that required 22 staples to close. She came back to the emergency room at Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton, Ga. …”

Perhaps the staphylococcus aureus infection and subsequent necrotizing fascists commenced but after contact in the emergency room where her leg was stapled (!) together.  The cut wasn’t the source of infection, but the subsequent emergency room contacts infected her.

Florida 2012

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/article/257238/3/Starke-man-dies-after-fight-with-necrotizing-fasciitis

Florida – Tampa

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2163297/Flesh-eating-bacteria-Lisa-Maria-Carter-sues-Tampa-hospital-losing-hands-feet.html

South Carolina 2012

http://www.wtsp.com/news/health/article/255604/12/Another-woman-victim-of-flesh-eating-bacteria

“It’s caused by two usually common bacteria, streptococcus and staphylococcus aureus …”

commonly found in hospital emergency room settings as well as on the human body.

Resources:

http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0303critic/030313illich/Frame.Illich.Ch1.html

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5953a1.htm?s_cid=mm5953a1_w

http://www.fidanoski.ca/medicine/staphylococcus-streptococcus.htm

http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/state/golf-outing-palm-frond-leads-to-flesh-eating-disease-necrotizing-fasciitis-for-florida-man

http://www.amazon.com/American-Way-Death-Revisited/dp/0679771867/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1287503475&sr=1-1

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18476182

Written by patwa

18/07/2012 at 1:11 pm

Mapping Party :: Congressional Cemetery Washington DC

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OpenStreetMap.org holds a mapping party at Congressional Cemetery on Sunday, July 15 10 a.m. to 3 pm.

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. Two major driving forces behind the establishment and growth of OSM have been restrictions on use or availability of map information across much of the world and the advent of inexpensive portable satellite navigation devices.

I heard about this project at Wikimania 2012 which is going on this week at George Washington University and other venues around town including  Tech@State events.

Written by patwa

14/07/2012 at 7:09 pm

Margaret Atwood at Georgetown University

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In Gaston Hall, on the evening of April 2, 2012 Margaret Atwood mused on debt, payback, revenge and  Image  what might the world be like now if the events of September 11, 2001 has been forgiven (after a period of thoughtful mourning) by the affected nations and their political leaders instead of a trigger excuse to bomb a swath of the Middle East and Central Asia into smithereens, killing hundreds of thousands of ordinary people and extending the dull-minded cycle of revenge.

Never mind, it didn’t happen that way.  Forgiveness costs too much.

But what is the price of payback? Image

Does anyone know the number of multi-national soldiers who have died in the endless Middle East wars? Does anyone know the number of children, elders, women and men killed because they were in the way of military actions in Ir-Af-Pak during the decades after 2001?

My thought is that forgiveness is a magnificent gesture of leadership.  It would require a period of sorrowful reflection and consultation with the other countries whose nationals perished in the event.

*  2,176 of the people who died at the WTC were born in the USA.

*  573 were born in other countries.

*  Data in the report noted below are based on 2,746 death certificates filed with the Office of Vital Records and 3   deaths that were reported outside New York City through October 31, 2003.

* Data on total deaths related to the events of that day in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia were not included in the WTC Disaster Death report authored by the City of New York.

Source: Departent of Mental and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Vital Statistics, The City of New York.  Special Section: World Trade Center Disaster Deaths, December 2003.  http://www.nyc.gov/health

Written by patwa

03/04/2012 at 2:55 pm

This Mountain :: That Border

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Llivia is a town under Basque Spanish jurisdiction yet  it is completely surrounded by France.

Andorra is another Pyrénées Mountain region divided between France and Spain during 1276, as part of feudal settlement by the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix. Their political descendants were the Kings of France and in current times, the President of the Republic of France.

Border specifics might not always be clear to the people, herds and horsemen in the area.  Thousands of French troops migrated into Spain from the early decades of the 1800’s onward, starting but not limited to Napoleon’s invasion.  Warning shouts and, if not heeded, shots, kept the traders and contraband runners inside the border lines of their respective countries.

19th c. Royalist France was trying to shut out disease (cholera) and liberal ideas.  Earlier,  Napoleon was bent on keeping France free of English colonial resources and soldiers. The area remained a hot spot, disputed particularly because surveyors and political forces didn’t know where one mountain range left off and the next began.  What appeared to some observers as the northerly edge of  the Pyrenees was actually the Corbieres range running from Narbonne on the Mediterranean coast, south west towards the Ariege.  Constant battling and raiding caused village administrative and legal records or archives to be looted and burned.  Sometimes there was intentional looting of church ledgers and records during anti-clerical phases, where many demographic records were recorded.

Written by patwa

26/05/2011 at 6:02 pm

Reality Check

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Organizational Culture shows us how governments, corporations, associations and other organizations manage their story and proactively shape their message.  Al-Qaeda has an organizational culture just like any other entity and hey, it’s run by a guy in the construction business with a bunch of sub-contractors who deliver their trade which happens to be self-inflicted mayhem and death.

The U.S. is a squeamish organization — we don’t like to see blood and heart-breaking scenes and we don’t like to violate our values and standards by using taboo subjects (religion, race, ethnicity, gender, etc) to our advantage in an information campaign. The U.S. is tough minded when it has to be, but its organizational culture steers away from making decisions, embracing necessary change or cutting off what isn’t working.

The government has pathological difficulty in cutting off funding for what isn’t working.  That would be the “war” in Afghanistan and the “deomacratization” of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Throwing money and human beings in the form of soldiers at problems that require tougher decisions and a longer term frame of reference is how the U.S. has avoided the painful work of facing reality.  Now reality means no more money.  Perhaps, at last,  bankruptcy and debt will force prudent decisions.

Written by patwa

10/11/2009 at 12:51 am

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