India Uncut

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Despatches 36: The broader, continuing disaster

One thought has struck me again and again through this trip: hasn’t this been a disaster region all these years? Much of the relief work that aid agencies are planning, and that millions of dollars are pouring in to enable, is to fulfil needs that have existed in all the affected countries for decades. Millions of people in these countries have lacked proper housing, a livelihood, often food and the means to buy medicine. Surely the lack of all those things is bad in itself. Why does it take the context of a natural disaster to evoke compassion?

These needs will remain, and this ongoing disaster will continue, long after the media stops talking about the tsunami, and we have pushed it to the back of our minds. Will we still feel, as so many of us have, the responsibility to do something, anything, to make things better?
amit varma, 8:12 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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