Even within the United States, natural disasters have already posed a great obstacle to social distancing and coronavirus containment. In the South, dozens have died from severe weather and tornadoes in the past weeks. These tornadoes have displaced many, making enforcing social distancing a challenge.
Other regions within the U.S. are also fairing poorly. In late April, North Dakota's Governor Doug Burgum declared a statewide flood emergency. Spring flooding has already caused $7 million in infrastructure damages across the state.
These natural disasters are only expected to ramp up as the summer months approach. Hurricane and wildfire seasons are barely beginning, while Tornado Alley may be facing an especially harmful tornado season.
"Over the next year or couple of months, we're going to see massive kinds of climate impacts in different parts of the country," Collin O'Mara, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation says. In a recent interview with theRising, O'Mara noted that the U.S. may have to handle both a pandemic and natural disasters at the same time.
"If you layer on top of natural disasters with weakened economies, state governments that have no money right now, high levels of illness and health infrastructure that's already overwhelmed, it gets pretty scary, pretty fast," he added.
So with so much on the line, adequate preparation and natural disaster relief is a must. Unfortunately, crises like global pandemics and natural disasters often strike the most economically and socially vulnerable first.
This story originally appeared in theRising and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.