A perspective from Perth, Western Australia

Monday, December 27, 2004

Tsunami in our region

When viewing this terrible event, there are several other things to remember. The body count isn't the whole story:

- The number of injured is something like 12-15 times the number of dead. A much higher percentage of the injured or sick could die or suffer disability because they don't have our first-world hospital/medical infrastructure. This also trickles into my second point.

- The number of homeless or people whose livelihoods (work etc) have been destroyed is far greater. This will chuck productive people into possibly permanent poverty in a way that's quite difficult for us Westerners to comprehend.

- Many more people will die or suffer from water-borne diseases such as typhoid and cholera because the infrastructure of the country will not be able to cope.

- The tourism infrastructure will cop a second blow in cancellations from mostly First World tourists, who will take their tourist dollars elsewhere (even though the risk of recurrence is low, as we saw in Bali).

Makes you put things in perspective... while we're off fighting a "war on terror" because some bunch of psychos flew a plane into a building in one city, these things destroy entire cities, destroy homes and facilities and societies, etc, usually in precisely the sort of places that really can't afford it (we've discussed Turkey, China and Iran, and with this tsunami *alone* Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, eastern India, Burma, western Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra/Aceh and probably other places).

One final note: We as Australians have a long history of being generous when our mates are down, regardless of who they are. You may not think you can make a difference - but even though I'm unemployed at the moment, I think that a $100 donation from each person (or even $20 if the former is beyond your means) to the Red Cross to help them manage this crisis. For the cost of a single restaurant meal or a day's parking in the city or a couple of CDs or DVDs, you could be helping real people in a time of need. It's easy to think "it's on the news, I can't make a difference" but don't forget, things are cheaper over there so a small amount can make a bigger difference than you'd expect.

Red Cross
or click here if the above fails to work


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