We are all concerned about the terrible effects of the hurricane that has hit Texas and Louisiana. Families left without homes, industry and traffic systems brought to a standstill, and a sad loss of life too. Constant news reports bring us updates about the rescue efforts, appeals for charitable donations, and the immense cost of rebuilding and recovery once the waters subside. Everyone affected has my genuine sympathy, and I cannot imagine what they must be going through.
But this is in the richest country on Earth. A country that has the means to throw billions of dollars at the problem. A country where its own president is so wealthy, he can afford to donate $1,000,000 of his own money to the relief fund, and not even blink. America has a vast infrastructure, and is able to call upon huge resources of manpower, industry, and equipment. Whatever the terrible conditions that currently prevail, we can rest assured that everyone will receive help of some kind, eventually.
On the other side of the world, there has also been flooding. Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries, has one third of its area under water. Over 50,000,000 inhabitants are directly affected, and more than 1,000 people have lost their lives. Whole towns and villages have disappeared, and the crops in the fields are all gone, destroyed by the still-rising flood waters. In Nepal, hundreds of thousands are homeless, and large parts of India are also affected. This is happening in an area without the means to cope. Countries with little or no infrastructure, no Blackhawk helicopters to evacuate stranded hospital patients, and without the means to provide most of those affected with basic aid, such as water and food.
Neither of these disasters is anybody’s fault. But one has happened in a place that can cope, and the other is still going on in places that cannot. Watching the news, you would have to search around for reports from Bangladesh. Somehow, stranded cars and pickup trucks, flooded urban highways, and military evacuations of victims seems to be more important, because it is happening in America. It is easy to forget those far-away countries, with languages and customs we don’t understand.
But their disaster is just as real.