Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Water – Elusive Elixir and Unwelcome Invader

Over 12 million people are suffering from the worst drought in sixty years in an area known as the Horn of Africa – Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. The drought has severely impacted food supplies so that now around one million are facing starvation. Hundreds of people are dying every day, and nearly half of those are children.

In an almost surreal event, Vermont was hit by a hurricane last month. An astonishing one-and-a-half inches of rain fell every hour for a while, pushing river water to record levels. Homes were destroyed and many historic bridges and roads were washed away. Several towns were flooded in several feet of water and 5 million people were without power. In the end, the storm cost $45 billion dollars and the lives of 40 people. Recovery will take weeks to months, with many things lost forever.

Water is absolutely necessary for life. We need it to move nutritional elements and essential salts through our bodies. Blood is about 8% of our body weight and about 50% of that is plasma, which is mostly water. This vital fluid moves through our heart and kidneys and filters out the bad and unwanted material. As the amount of water in our body shrinks, the delicate balance of fluid composition is disrupted and the body becomes much more susceptible to infection and disease.

On the other hand, too much water can dilute your body’s electrolytic balance and neurons can no longer fire and cells miss important messages. While we are all sadly aware of drowning, a person can literally die from consuming too much water as well. This is extreme, to be sure, but it can and has happened.

Once water has seeped into your home, your carpets, and your walls, it often prepares a perfect spot to host undesirable elements such as mold, mildew and fungus. It is so difficult to rid of them that sometimes the wet objects (keepsakes to furniture to houses) can only be thrown away or completely replaced.

Water, so necessary and yet so dangerous. We cannot tell Mother Nature where to drop this life-giving/life-threatening elixir, but we can look at our own lives and think, “What if...” then “What can I do to protect this...”

For those who want to find some way to help those in need in the Horn of African, go to: http://www.wfp.org/stories/horn-africa-10-ways-you-can-help.

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