Monday, 12 May 2008

Natural disasters: in the south they die, in the north they don't.

With all eyes on Burma, now is perhaps the perfect moment to reflect on the injustice of a world in which natural disasters cause widespread death, disease and homelessness in the developing world but not to anything like the same extent in the richer north. Last year 149 natural and man-made disasters hit Asia, causing 13,748 dead or missing. By contrast, 82 freak weather events in Europe and North America killed only abut a sixth as many.

The figures are from The Economist. To me they are absolute evidence of the links between international economics and climate change - and that our moral duty to prevent its worst impacts should be seen as protecting the most basic Universal Human Rights (to life, housing and health) of some of the world's poorest.

1 comment:

  1. Well Scott, Bush did refuse aid assistance from Mexico, Venezuela and Cuba who were all ready to jump in and help the moment the disaster struck (and geographically were very well placed to do so).

    Whilst the wealth of the US allowed it to weather the storm (no pun intended) over the long term its short term efforts were abysmal and certainly did cost lives. So the Burmese government is not alone.

    I'd also add that the US has been calling for regime change in Burma for the last seven years so this may be part of the explanation as to why the Burmese government is reluctant to allow US forces into its territory

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