Politics of disaster

THE rich-poor divide, it seems, can survive worst of disasters. Six months ago, the Asian tsunami broke all previous records of natural catastrophe killing thousands and displacing millions across the continent. Devastation was all pervasive and complete. The rich and poor were equally affected.

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Sun 26 Jun 2005, 10:36 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:46 PM

Yet, the aid agency Oxfam tells us, the rich benefitted most from the massive aid that poured in from international donors while the poor and really deserving among tsunami victims received little or no help that was originally meant for them. The revelation by Oxfam, a respected aid agency that has done a great deal of work in the tsunami-affected countries, is truly shocking and should come as a wake-up call to governments in these countries.

If the Asian disaster was extraordinary in its nature, the response it generated around the world was equally overwhelming. From governments to charity organisations to faceless individuals, the world reached out in unprecedented ways to help the needy.

The reports that the aid did not reach those deserving it, therefore, is an affront to the world community’s invaluable contribution and spirit of giving and caring. While in Sri Lanka the government and separatist Tamil Tigers fought over sharing the tsunami aid for six months, in Aceh province of Indonesia, displaced people continue to live in tents.

Apparently the legendary corruption of the Third world hasn’t spared even aid and reconstruction effort. Disasters are not without their share of politics. Who’s responsible for this state of affairs? The powers that be in Asia should ensure corruption and politics are kept out of humanitarian work. Otherwise, few would come forward to help next time a disaster strikes.

More news from