It's winter time. A savage storm has buffeted New Zealand and there's probably more to come.
Waves crashed over the motorway into Wellington, gale-force winds of up to 150 km/h pounded the capital, roads were covered in debris and hundreds of people lost power. The sustained wind speed was typical of a category 3 tropical cyclone in some places. The New Zealand Transport Agency urged motorists to follow the speed limit. Follow the speed limit? It was hard to believe that many people would have been driving as fast as 100 km/h in the conditions. Far better to stay off the roads if humanly possible. One report said that trampolines were flying out of gardens and onto the roads! One wouldn't see that coming!
In the central north island over 8,000 homes were without power, all state highways were closed and people were cut off - and very, very cold. South Island passes were also closed. Ferries were cancelled for two days, not surprising really when the highest recorded wave height was 10 metres! Amazingly, some planes continued to fly out of Wellington. Taking off might have been reasonable but the wind gusts would have made landing uncomfortable.
So what do we think about all that? Following this tumult, the sun came out again, the wind dropped and calm was restored. Each one of us would have caught ourselves grumbling that we were cold, had wet feet as we trudged through surface water, couldn't go where we wanted to go when we wanted to go there, got stuck, sometimes for hours, in traffic jams as roads and slips were cleared..
But did we spare a thought for those who were, and are, so very, very much worse off than us as we found ourselves in the teeth of a short-lived storm? What about those who are ill and suffering and without power. What about the people of Mosul? Mosul has been the site of a military operation to dislodge and defeat militant forces since October 2016. The people of Mosul have suffered terribly for over eight months, they have no homes, no infrastructure, their city is in ruins and many of their family members are dead.
Shame on us! It was only a storm and it passed.