Neighbours in a Disaster

Submitted by Nastinia Bailey on July 25, 2013 - 3:29pm
How do neighbours respond in a natural disaster

I've heard other people talk about how their neighbours have come together during a natural disaster but I've never experienced it myself. Last week I got a taste of it when the storm blew down trees and limbs and knocked out electricity for seven hours plus.

Nobody was hurt so it was not that level of disaster or emergency. What it did was draw most neighbours out of their houses to gawk at the fallen trees and wires. It was about 6pm so most people were home. Many people gathered in clusters on the sidewalk and talked about what they did during the storm and speculated what they'd eat for supper without opening their fridge.

At our house we had nutella on bread and veggies from the garden. The kids found a few pea pods that were still edible, green beans, dill, cherry tomatoes and kholrabi.


How were neighbours helping each other out? I didn't see much but it was probably happening. We helped a neighbour with the branches in his yard. Two strapping teenage boys walked around pulling branches off of the street.

That evening I walked around and noticed that many people were on their porches with a candle or two. The houses were still full of hot air from the day but the evening air was fresh so people were drawn to their porches. Of the ten or so porches I saw, only one of them had multiple conversations happening. Not that that is bad! I just thought it was interesting that most people were on their porches solo.

What did you notice about neighbourliness with last week's storm? Or other storms?


Hi Nina,

Thanks for sharing- glad to hear nobody was hurt by the large trees that fell. Chris and I were on an East Coast road/camping trip for the last 10 days, so we didn't hear about the big storm until we returned. Thus, I wasn't around to see how my neighbours reacted to this (smaller) natural disaster.

That said, look at the beautiful willow tree close to Grebel that was split in half: 


As you talked about people sitting on their porches, but more often alone than not, I thought I'd try and find an image to add to this blog of people sitting on a porch. As I searched online almost all the photos of people on porches were old, black and while photos from years ago... like, sitting on a front porch doesn't happen anymore. Those I did find were of only one of two people on a porch reading or doing something solitary... not inherently a bad thing... but I'm curious, do people still spend time in groups on porches? Are they used a communal gathering places? or, is that left to backyards now?