Haiti quake- Go to hell!!January 20th, 2010
Before we talk about the earthquake in Haiti here are a few numbers we should take note of. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has a GDP of just about 11.6 billion dollars. It’s population is less than 10 million with per capita income of $1300 per year. On the scale of Human Development Index UN ranked Haiti as being 146 out of 177 countries. According to estimates more than two thirds of the workforce does not have a formal job and work as what we call casual laborers. It is therefore not really surprising to note that more than 78% of Haitians survive on less than $2 a day, ie ninety bucks in Indian currency and in our terminology live below the poverty line. Think again guys, nearly eighty percent of population living below poverty line! That’s the scale of poverty in the country. And this was before the earthquake struck on 12 Jan 10.
According to reports more than hundred fifty thousand people have reportedly perished in this earthquake so far. More than half a million people have been injured and nearly 1.5 million people have lost their homes. As you can see nearly 1.5% of the country’s population has perished with more than 15% being left homeless. Also, as you can imagine, people who were earning just about $2 a day before the quake would find it very hard to make even that much now. Again, not surprisingly riots and looting have already broken out for food and water.
Though assistance from various agencies and countries from across the world is being organised, it is still falling short of the required numbers. The United Nations has undertaken massive relief efforts to help the affected people. The Americans have dispatched nearly 5000 military troops with food, medicines and water to help in these efforts. They have even promised aid worth 562 million dollars for this purpose. And they are not alone in this endeavor. More than 30 countries have so far extended substantial aid for Haiti. Many American corporates have announced aid totaling up to 100 million dollars. Individuals celebrities like Madonna, Angelina Jolie, Tiger Woods and many others have also contributed generously for this cause. Networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have organised special campaigns to help the Haitians. As you can see, the world over there is major concern for people who have been affected by this catastrophe and people are doing whatever they can to help these people.
Apart from US countries who have sent aid and rescue teams to Haiti include Canada, France, South Africa, Brazil, El Salvador, Venezuela and China. Pertinent to mention here is that Chinese do not even have diplomatic relations with Haiti but they have still sent a 50 member team along with their aid package to assist in these efforts. It shows the magnanimity and maturity of the country which is destined to be a world power in not so distant future. But where is India’s and the Indian govt’s assistance package for Haitians? Actually, there is hardly any. Yeah, that’s right. Our govt has just not responded to cries of those poor people. To be fair to our govt they have indeed announced giving a million dollars for this purpose but tell you what? A million dollars for a tragedy of this scale? It’s down right shameful. Even Tiger Woods, who has given 5 million dollars, has done more for those people than our entire country. Our corporates though have tried to be of some help but it’s rather late in the day and seems to have been done on second thoughts.
While all the major media houses of the world have worked overtime to create awareness amongst it’s audiences and help Haitians in any which way they could our media has shamefully just kind of glossed over what is happening in Haiti. Just check out their websites and you’ll see reports (if you do) about Haiti in some misplaced corner. They are much more concerned about Amar Singh having quit Samajwadi Party or auction of IPL players which was telecast live by all the major news channels or some such stupid stuff but they don’t have time for poor Haitians who are dying in multitudes by the minute. In fact they are not to be blamed at all. They are only a reflection of what we ourselves are. And we too are hardly bothered about Haiti. For us Amar Singh and IPL are more interesting. And therefore why the hell should news channels bother about Haiti or it’s people. In any case I’m dead sure that 90% of our countrymen don’t even know where Haiti is. For those of us who fall in this category here’s a map of the place.
And here are some disturbing pictures of the havoc which these people are facing.
These are just a few pictures of the tragedy. There are millions of such scenes which have played out in the island nation. Suffice to say that these people deserve to be helped and taken care of at the earliest. It is the duty of each and everyone of us to contribute in any which way we can. If you really wish to you can do so in many ways. One of the major stake holders in this process is the American Red Cross Society. A link to their website where you can contribute is also shown on the left sidebar.
Having said this I wish to categorically state that lack of response from Indian govt has shown our country in a very poor light, to put it very mildly. In my view it shows what kind of people we are. While we expect the world to listen to us on issues ranging from terrorism to climate change to what have you we are incapable of doing our bit for the poorest people on this planet and are therefore unqualified for any kind of recognition. In light of this lackadaisical and disturbing behavior of the Indian govt quite rightfully the world in general does not support our demands for a permanent seat in the UN. Permanent seat in the UN? My left bloody foot!!!!!!!!!!! May be in the next century.
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