My book review of 'When the Dust Settles' by Lucy Easthope
Subtitled 'Stories of love, loss and hope from an expert in disaster', this is a surprisingly uplifting read. The author has been present in many natural and manmade disasters around the world, and she shares something of the experience. She doesn't dwell on the trauma, though, instead bringing a quiet and considered calm and logic which is reassuring and refreshing.
Lucy Easthope has been present at most of the catastrophic events of the last few decades, advising on everything from the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami to the 7/7 bombings, the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand, the Grenfell fire and the Covid-19 pandemic.
She explains without hyperbole what happens in the aftermath, describing how the authorities respond and how victims and their relatives are cared for. She highlights good practice but also shines a light on the times when confusion and sometimes incompetence come to play. She introduces the reader to government briefing rooms and disaster preparation plans, and she tells us how much there is to learn from each situation in order to heal and rebuild with strength and hope.
As the blurb says: "She holds governments to account, helps communities rally together, returns personal possessions to families, and holds the hands of the survivors."
She also tells us something of her personal story, how she and her family cope with her travelling to and returning from the disaster zones, and how she has dealt with tragedies nearer to home.
It should be a grim read, but it's far from it. This is so inspiring and uplfiting, and I am full of admiration and gratitude for Lucy and those who work alongside her. It is a book which highlights hope, humanity and compassion and I highly recommend it!