REPRESENTING a constituency that has felt the harsh impact of extreme weather events like storms Babet and Arwen, it’s crucial that we not only acknowledge the stark realities of climate change but also proactively engage in building resilient communities.

These storms have shown us the devastating effects of extreme weather, leaving communities without power and, tragically, leading to the loss of lives. However, amidst these challenges, we also witness the indomitable human spirit and the power of community.

During these storms, digital platforms became a beacon of hope and a crucial resource. Social media feeds filled with stories of unity and assistance, community members braving the elements to clear drains, strangers offering shelter, and even the reunification of lost pets with their families.

It’s a poignant reminder that often, the worst situations bring out the best in humanity. For public representatives like me, these events underscore the critical role of clear, accessible communication.

Our constituents seek reliable information not just to safeguard their own welfare but to assist those around them. The spontaneous outpouring of support during these crises is heartening, but it also highlights a significant opportunity – the need to empower our local communities proactively.

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Policymakers must facilitate communities in becoming self-sufficient, especially during times when professional aid might face inevitable delays due to overwhelming circumstances. This involves not only sharing critical information but also ensuring communities have the necessary tools and resources at their disposal.

Whether it’s access to emergency kits, knowledge of safe shelters, or training in basic rescue and first aid, preparedness can save lives.

Moreover, we must advocate for and support the implementation of infrastructure resilient to climate change. Investment in sustainable urban planning, flood defences, and renewable energy sources is not just environmental stewardship it’s a commitment to the safety and longevity of our communities.

Certainly, the role of local authorities cannot be overstated when we talk about responding to crises, be they natural disasters, public health emergencies, or social and economic challenges.

These bodies, often operating at the front line of the harshest public criticisms, are the backbone of crisis management and community welfare. Their intimate understanding of the community’s unique needs, strengths, and vulnerabilities makes them irreplaceable in both planning and response stages.

Likewise, the Scottish Government’s Resilience Room and its associated partners form a crucial part of this response.

The National: Flood water in Brechin during Storm BabetFlood water in Brechin during Storm Babet

The collaboration between Regional Resilience Partnerships, the Met Office, utility companies, and emergency services creates a comprehensive support network that is crucial for efficient, informed, and effective action.

Still, it’s the people on the ground who bring these plans to fruition, and as we reflect on recent events and plan for the future, we do so with gratitude and respect for these dedicated individuals and groups.

The people who face the storm head-on, who work in the most perilous conditions to restore power, provide emergency assistance, and rebuild infrastructure.

Their commitment often means working around the clock in unforgiving environments, all to ensure that normalcy is restored for the rest of us. Spare a thought for the families of these relentless workers, for every individual wading through floodwaters or braving the storm, there is a family battling worry, waiting for a safe return.

While we commend the strength and unity our communities have shown, we must pause and acknowledge the profound loss that some have faced. Lives have been tragically cut short, and families are mourning. It’s a solemn reminder of what’s at stake. Our commitment to fostering resilient communities is not just a matter of practicality or duty, it’s a homage to those we’ve lost and a pledge to do all in our power to prevent such tragedies in the future.

It’s a poignant reminder of our own fragility and the sheer magnitude of nature’s force.

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These moments of crisis bring with them a humbling realisation, a feeling of smallness in a more powerful natural world. The terrifying strength of these storms, the chaos they bring in their wake, lays bare the fact that for all our advancements, we remain at the mercy of nature’s whims.

Yet, within this vulnerability lies a powerful reminder that our actions have weight. The choices we make, individually and collectively, can influence the health of our planet and the severity of the storms we face. It is a stark reminder that our respect for nature isn’t just philosophical – it’s a practical necessity, integral to our survival and wellbeing.

These moments of crisis can serve as a wake-up call to each of us. They are an opportunity to reassess our priorities, to increase our efforts in safeguarding our environment, and to actively participate in building a more sustainable, resilient future.

In the face of adversities that seem almost biblical in scale – relentless storms, global conflicts, public health and mental health crises, and economic struggles – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Today we have devices which relay the fear of all that is happening straight into the palm of our hands.

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But here is an undeniable comfort in witnessing the everyday acts of kindness, bravery, and resilience that individuals around the world display. There is good in the world.

While we may feel like just one person in the face of monumental challenges, our shared humanity becomes our strongest asset, enabling us to weather not just the physical storms that batter our shores, but the emotional ones that threaten to break our spirit.

So, in moments of despair, when the weight of the world’s sorrows feels unbearable, remember that you are not alone. There is goodness around us, within strangers, neighbours, friends, and family, all contributing to a reservoir of strength from which we can all draw.

To anyone struggling, feeling isolated or overwhelmed, please reach out, share your burden, because help is available. In a time of distress, a friend said to me “you can do hard things”, and I took strength from that. We’ve withstood hard times before, and together, we will do so again.