Politics: Work will focus on improving resilience to future storm challenges
Being a representative of the north-east, I've witnessed first-hand the severe effects of extreme weather events like Storm Babet on the energy and food security of our rural communities.
These events often result in delayed deliveries of essential goods, leaving supermarket shelves empty.
Storm Babet, which recently swept through Scotland, continues to takes its toll on the north-east with empty supermarket shelves and ongoing power cuts.
Scotland is no stranger to dreich weather, but Storm Babet was a stark reminder of how quickly nature can disrupt our daily lives.
The howling winds, torrential rains and swollen rivers left a trail of damage in its wake.
Homes were flooded, roads were blocked and communities were temporarily cut off from essential services.
It was a trying time for constituents, and I want to pay my condolences to those who lost their lives last week.
The aftermath of Storm Babet has also revealed a new challenge, one which greatly affects our remote and rural communities: empty shelves in our supermarkets.
As demand for essential supplies surged during the storm's approach, it exposed vulnerabilities in our supply chain.
The sight of empty shelves in our local grocery stores served as a poignant reminder of the need to enhance our food security infrastructure.
In the aftermath of Storm Babet, we must commend the resilience and unity of our communities who took great care of one another, but we must too reflect on the lessons we can draw from it.
Climate change is real, it's affecting us right now and extreme weather events like Storm Babet are becoming more frequent and severe.
As we rebuild and recover, we must prioritise climate resilience in our local policies. But we also need to bolster our local supply chain to ensure food and essential goods are readily available, even in times of crisis.
I'm committed to working closely with local authorities, emergency services and the Scottish Government to ensure our region is better prepared for future challenges.
This includes strengthening our supply chain and ensuring that our supermarkets have robust contingency plans in place.
As a Member of Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs and Islands Committee, I am committed to making sure these questions are at the front and centre of our focus in the weeks and months ahead.
One of the most heartening aspects of this experience was the way our community rallied together.
Neighbours helping one another and volunteers stepping up to provide support.
This strong sense of community spirit is the backbone of Banffshire and Buchan Coast, and I am immensely proud to represent the coastal communities who call our constituency home.
However, we must not forget that there are still residents who are struggling to rebuild their lives, and there are lessons to be learned from the empty shelves we witnessed.
I will be advocating in any way I can to continue to support those affected by Storm Babet and to push for improvements to our local infrastructure, including our food supply chain and supermarket stock levels.
We must also acknowledge the efforts of our emergency services, who worked tirelessly throughout the storm, often putting their own safety on the line to help others.
Their dedication and bravery are commendable, and I will be recognising their efforts in a motion to the Scottish Parliament.
While Storm Babet brought hardship, disruption and empty shelves, it also showcased the unwavering strength of our community.
As your MSP, I am here to champion the needs and concerns of Banffshire and Buchan Coast, and I am committed to ensuring that we emerge from this ordeal even stronger.
Together, we can weather any storm that comes our way and build a better, more resilient future for our constituency and the wider north-east.