In spite of all the advances that man has made, we still have no way of controlling the forces of nature.
Tsunamis, flash floods, forest fires, earthquakes, persistent hot or cold weather, tornadoes and hurricanes still come and catch us out. All of these natural phenomena lead to destruction and loss of life and we are seemingly powerless to stop them.
I wonder, is there is any part of the world that is immune to natural disasters? I doubt it.
Americans on the eastern seaboard of the country are now facing the full force of the worst hurricane that many of them will have experienced, the worst to have hit America in seven years.
Of course they had plenty of warning as meteorologists tracked the progress from a tropical storm to a full blown hurricane. They knew day by day how it was moving and at what strength it was raging. Americans could see in pictures the damage that it was doing as it moved relentlessly towards their country.
When hurricane Irene hit the Carolina states it reeked havoc along the coast. The prediction was that the storm would then progress onwards and howl ashore east of New York on Long Island on Sunday morning. Multi-million pound homes in the upmarket holiday enclave of the Hamptons were expected to suffer serious damages.
Although estimated wind speeds have been reduced from 100mph to 55-70mph, the big fear for New York was water surges of four to eight feet driven ashore at a time when new moon tides were already high.
Drastic measures had to be taken. This was to be the first mandatory evacuation order in the city's history covered some of New York's most famous districts, including Battery Park on the southern tip of lower Manhattan, the financial district around Wall St and the beachfront haunt of Coney Island.
Many New Yorkers heeded the warning, packed up and left but of course there were those who ignored the warnings -determined to stay and see things out. The prospect for them is bleak because everywhere in New York is apparently closed down, there is no public transport and even the possibility of no electricity.
We can only spare a thought for our American cousins and for all those other people in the world who are facing natural disasters at this time. Thankfully it is not us.