Fuel shortages and food supplies are national problems, all we can do is help where we can

Covers on fuel pumps at a Shell filling station in Smithdown Road, Liverpool. Deliveries to supermar

Covers on fuel pumps at a Shell filling station in Smithdown Road, Liverpool. Deliveries to supermarkets and other businesses across the UK are facing a growing shortage of drivers with many self-isolating after being pinged by the NHS COVID app. Picture date: Wednesday July 21, 2021. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Highlighting the needy, with Anthony Bernard.

Exmouth Community Food Larder manager Anthony Bernard.

Exmouth Community Food Larder manager Anthony Bernard. - Credit: Picture: Simon Horn.

Research into 'highlighting the needy' gets ever more worrying. 

This crisis is not something any politician can magic away.

The cost of food and basic ingredients for life are becoming more scarce and more expensive worldwide.

Borrowing only delays and worsens financial problems, it does not solve them.

Global warming is a major factor alongside everything else.

Experts tell us we are only in the foothills of a mountain of problems.

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There is no question that poorer people are worst hit and need support, which the government has started doing; there is not yet any shortage of fuel or money in Exmouth judging from boats zooming around the estuary and people stuck in foreign travel chaos. 

It is a crisis of two parts; some people really are struggling to live, others trying to maintain a lifestyle to which they wish to remain accustomed.

Exmouth population is 34,432, the Foodbank supplied 586 packages in April 2022, though just 442 in May. 586 divided by 34,432 equals 1.7 per cent.

Statistics are meaningless, but indicate that a quite small number of people have monster problems.

Recent government policy will provide some help to those worst hit, but there will still be problems.

Most of us have to economise, but also provide help to our neighbours. Governments can only recycle our own money, it is what we pay in tax.

We have to come to terms with the reality that costs have risen dramatically beyond previous earnings and we will all need to adjust.

Inflation will exceed 10 per cent; cereal prices have increased more than 35 per cent on world markets; 50 degree temperatures and drought in South Asia are so worrying that India, normally a significant exporter of grain, has embargoed exports.

There are 20 million tons of grain in Ukraine which cannot be exported while shipping is closed in the Black Sea; 80 million people are in danger of starvation in Africa according to the UN World Food Agency; for three years there has been total drought in East Africa.

My imagined committee of the Heavenly Host eases my depression by suggesting that there is a plan.

The Covid-19 experience initiated all sorts of wonderful mutual help, everyone working together to ameliorate other peoples' problems, maybe that was basic training for what we will all need to do as this crisis bites harder.

Volunteers and donors provide food and support for our local needy, for the Ukraine and for refugees.

That community spirit growing worldwide will be needed for some time to come.

World problems also follow a pattern; the Ukraine war dominates the news, global warming and plastic pollution are forgotten, but there are no volcanoes or earthquakes, we hope.

Maybe God's Heavenly Host is keeping an eye on things, guiding us through the problems.

We can only do what is within our own reach, but some things do need urgent national attention - for example the ambulance service is blamed for slow responses, but the root cause is inadequate pay for care home staff, leading to staff shortages - hospitals unable to discharge patients - emergency departments unable to send patients to wards so the next ambulance can be unloaded!! Parliament needs to finance local authorities and local government to fund care homes, and we need to urge them on.

Ordinary problems still need attention, but extraordinary people working together can refresh the parts that politicians haven't reached, provided the financial wheels are greased.