#Article (Archive)

When the dust settles

Oct 21, 2011, 2:40 PM

At the start of the week as I sat at my desk staring at my monitor and brainstormed this edition’s potential topics, I was spoilt for choice. It was like a battle royal of ideas was being waged in my mind. Yet one idea struck me more that the rest, perhaps due to its realism and potency emotionally. Like a blinding flash of light, it came to me, more prominent than the rest. 

Just within the span of the last decade, Mother Nature has experienced many devastating incidents both though man’s doing and forces outside our control. Of the former, the most notable would be war (internal/external) and the latter includes, flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunami, mudslides, avalanche, lightning storms just to mention a few. The casualties have been many and crippling with lives lost, livelihoods destroyed and hope for the future lost as despair smothers. Initial response to most of the above in some cases is usually as expected with pledges and assistance as the normal human reaction in most instances is to alleviate the pain of others. Yet when the dust settles, what happens next?

But after the initial response, we tend to lose focus, commencing to think in terms of numbers and not living breathing people. Perhaps it’s because it brings to the surface how much more could be done.  Perhaps with a more united front, a significant difference can be made. What an improvement the world would be if everyone contributed financially and emotionally to the needy, it would make a complete 180 degree turn in a positive direction.

The Haitian earthquake of 2010 was ranked the sixth deadliest one in recorded history with over three hundred thousand fatalities and millions of dollars worth of damages to land, infrastructure and livelihood. Yet the toll rises to this day. Due to the terrible conditions the affected victims live in, the deadly water borne disease such and already battered people incurring more fatalities due to the lack of or in some areas insufficient medi-care especially drugs. Though aid workers and various charity organizations are still hard at work to help in the restoration and rebuilding effort, much more is needed. A year after the incident, Port Au Prince

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was one that set the world back on its hinges. It was primarily due to the fact that the carnage was not limited to one country but spread across a region. Triggered by a below water earthquake, the hardest hit countries were Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. With over a quarter of a million declared dead, thousands injured and way over a million and a half displaces with casualties spreading as far as Sothern Africa, it was noted as the deadliest tsunami of all history. The effects are still visible in these regions.

With approximately two thousand confirmed deaths and billions of dollars worth of destruction, Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in the US. With eighty percent of the city flooded, the number of displaces was so significant. Damaged was not only done to property but even the land suffered with post hurricane erosion. And to this very day, many people are still living in homeless shelters not having been able to rebuild.

Yet when the dust settles, what happens next? With the passage of time we no longer pay as much attention to these unfortunate occurrences and the victim’s sad predicaments as we may have done initially. Is it part of being human, the syndrome of moving on to the next ‘happening’ thing?  We do tend to want to move on to whatever comes next, I guess. Yet for the people who keep helping and giving assistance individually or corporately in any way they possibly can.

What must always keep us interested is knowing had we been in a similar position or under the same circumstances we would want someone to care enough about us to want to help, not just initially but till we were fit to take up the reins of our lives again. Because in the end, it is not about what we say or whether we know the affected intimately, but rather that we allow ourselves to love so completely that we are driven to not only be the voice of the voiceless but to care enough to want to follow suit with actions that will physically transform their everyday life. Pledge to make a difference today.