The Natural Disaster Nobody Sees

Below is an excerpt from an article I wrote, inspired by my time in New Orleans.

It is obvious people go the extra mile to help those affected by a natural disaster. We only need to think of the global responses to the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In January 2010, the world mobilised its efforts to respond to the earthquake in Haiti that left 220,000 people dead.

There would not have been an Australian school child or employee that wasn’t asked to donate or contribute in some way to at least one of these relief efforts. When an issue such as this is front and centre in our minds, we respond.

However, there is another natural disaster that is destroying lives every day, the effects of which will be handed down to generation after generation. The effects from the fallout of this disaster include sub-standard living conditions, poor education, poor health and higher levels of crime. Ironically this became all the more apparent to me having recently visited New Orleans spending time with survivors of Hurricane Katrina as well as teachers and social workers who work with their children.

For those born into poverty, every day is a natural disaster. Yet in this case, society often appears to turn a blind eye. The very same people who criticised George W Bush’s administration for their inept response to Katrina are the ones who cross the road to avoid the homeless. Those who ran around the office with a bucket telling you how much you should give to help the Haitian people are the same ones who avoid eye contact with those, who really should just go get a job.

Online Opinion, the largest e-journal of Social and Political Commentary in Australia has picked it up… you can read the article in full by clicking here.

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