By ERIK CHALHOUB, Managing Editor

How many more disasters can we take?

All in the span of two months, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Texas, followed closely behind by Hurricane Irma and the havoc it wreaked on the Caribbean and Florida.

In between those hurricanes and the catastrophe of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico, killing more than 300 people. This was after an 8.1 magnitude quake earlier in September in the country killed nearly 100 people.

And that’s not even mentioning the other disasters taking place throughout the United States, such as the political climate and the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history in Las Vegas.

It’s all too overwhelming to keep track.

And now, too close to home, the deadliest wildfires in California’s history are destroying lives and scorching the northern areas of the state.

The effects of the fires are also being felt here in Santa Cruz County, with the air quality last week possibly the poorest it has been since the Soberanes and Loma fires in 2016.

Santa Cruz County is still recovering from its own natural disaster, when heavy rains and winds at the beginning of 2017 caused damages of $128 million.

While there is nothing we can do to prevent a natural disaster, we can do our best to be prepared and weather whatever the planet throws our way.

Cal Fire has an informative website ( on how to be prepared for wildfire, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website ( lists what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

Stay safe out there.


In the midst of all these disasters, locally there is a lot of good happening.

California Grill held its annual Cancer Support Day on Saturday, an event organizers had predicted would raise $20,000 for the Katz Cancer Resource Center at Dominican Hospital and Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services.

Soroptimist International of Watsonville presented its annual Great Gatsby fundraiser on Saturday, supporting its programs that benefit local women and girls.

The third annual Burrito Bash put on by the Rotary clubs of Freedom and Watsonville took place on Oct. 7 at the fairgrounds, raising money for community organizations. That same weekend was the Watsonville Film Festival, an always-growing event that brings the community together in a positive way.

There are many other recent events I didn’t mention here. But when there are countless of tragedies happening all over the world, there are always enough positive things happening locally to help balance it out.


Erik Chalhoub can be reached at [email protected] or 761-7353.

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