I lived in Houston when Hurricane Alicia came in. We followed all the instructions. Filled buckets and pitchers and bottles with water. Had enough food to eat for about a week. Had two coolers and bags of ice stored in our freezer in case the power went out. Lots of batteries, flashlights and emergency jar candles. Washed all the laundry before the storm came in. Washed all the dishes. Made sure we had fuel for the camp stove. Bought a large stack of paper plates.
The storm arrived in the middle of the night with sound and fury. Afterwards, the skies were blue, the sun came out, and we baked. Because of course the power went out. Two houses down, a neighbor fired up his huge grill (a converted fifty-five gallon drum) and offered to cook any meat anyone wanted to bring by.
People started preparing foods that were perishable so that they would be eaten rather than thrown out. Neighbors opened their garage doors and played cards or board games in the shade. A couple people put up tarps and set up tables so that we could arrange the potluck dishes the neighbors brought by.
A couple of guys went from house to house assessing the damage, making a list of things that needed to be replaced. Others cleaned up debris from the yards.
We were blessed. We lived far enough inland that we had limited consequences from the storm. But we also pulled together to make things better. Everyone did something. Everyone participated. Disaster relief isn't just the responsibility of the government. WE are the government. WE are the people.
PS: Today my granddaughter is eleven years old! Happy birthday, kid!