disasters in wealthy vs. poor nations

ZosoZoso Posts: 6,425
edited November 2012 in A Moving Train
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opin ... 6508594860

Interesed to see what people think about this article.

HURRICANE Sandy reporting underscores the gulf between First World and developing nations, says David Penberthy.
ONE criticism frequently levelled against the media is that we habitually devote acres of space to disasters involving ourselves and other First World nations and relegate bigger catastrophes in the developing world to a couple of paragraphs on page 44.
It is true that this happens but I don't regard it as particularly evil.
It is no different from the fact that a television station in Guatemala will run big on an earthquake in nearby Nicaragua yet ignore or downplay something much worse that happened in Australia or Indonesia or Thailand.
Proximity and familiarity motivate these news judgments.
I doubt, for instance, the Queensland floods or the Victorian bushfires were on the front page of many newspapers in Africa.
The coverage of Hurricane Sandy in Australia this week has been massive, and understandably so, as we have a close relationship with America, many of us have holidayed there, many of us have lived there.
That said, there have been some aspects of the coverage and the behaviour of some of those affected by the disaster that have shone a light on the lack of proportionality that afflicts our sense of what constitutes a problem in the First World.
It has also underscored the gulf between quality of life in the First World and the developing world, which unless you are completely heartless is something worth reflecting upon when we have those recurring debates about the size of our foreign aid budget.
Sandy is a disaster by every measure - a hefty $50 billion damage bill, a sizeable death toll of 55 at last count in the US and Canada.
It is also something of a case study in how to handle a crisis, world's best practice in terms of anticipating the storm, preparing for it, and dealing with its impact.
One fact that has been sadly glossed over in the American-dominated news feeds is that the storm actually killed more people in the Caribbean than it did in the US, 71 at last count, 54 of them in the cursed island nation of Haiti.
This storm was even stronger by the time it smashed into the east coast of the US, into the path of more homes and more people, but it still killed fewer people there than it did during its genesis in the Caribbean islands.
The chief reason is the technology gap between the First World and the developing world.
Every feature of the storm's behaviour was predicted accurately by meteorologists in the US, and television, websites and social media were used to get the message out to the community.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent much of the past week tweeting the latest on Sandy's imminent arrival and his tweets were re-tweeted tens of thousands of times.
When all hell broke loose in Haiti, people weren't using their iPhone 4s or tablets to keep up to speed with the latest developments.
None of this is meant to sound like America-bashing.
I adore the place, but aside from setting a standard for disaster management this storm has also set a benchmark for hyperbole.
As far as I can tell this storm is at least the third in the past decade that has been labelled the "storm of the century", not to mention the laughably silly new term "Frankenstorm" to describe its bolt-necked evil.
And while I have nothing but sympathy for the people who have lost loved ones or sustained injuries or lost their homes, some of the commentary has been very much in the order of First World problems.
I particularly enjoyed the comments in yesterday's Wall Street Journal from a Manhattan art curator who put out a plaintive message on Facebook about her sense of isolation with the power supply out.
"My phone battery is out and I'd love to charge it," she wrote on her Facebook page.
"I feel so disconnected. I'm trying to read only reliable tweets."
Life goes on I guess. Especially if this is as hard as it gets.
I'm just flying around the other side of the world to say I love you

Sha la la la i'm in love with a jersey girl

I love you forever and forever :)

Adel 03 Melb 1 03 LA 2 06 Santa Barbara 06 Gorge 1 06 Gorge 2 06 Adel 1 06 Adel 2 06 Camden 1 08 Camden 2 08 Washington DC 08 Hartford 08
Post edited by Unknown User on

Comments

  • lukin2006lukin2006 Posts: 9,087
    I have no idea about the media coverage in Australia.

    I do no this Haiti received wall to wall coverage...Haiti being one of the poorest countries on the earth.
    The tsunami at christmas a few years back received wall to wall coverage.
    I remember seeing news coverage of many other disasters...maybe not to the degree of Haiti or the tsunami...but enough coverage to make me aware they exist.
    I have certain rules I live by ... My First Rule ... I don't believe anything the government tells me ... George Carlin

    "Life Is What Happens To You When Your Busy Making Other Plans" John Lennon
  • ZosoZoso Posts: 6,425
    lukin2006 wrote:
    I have no idea about the media coverage in Australia.

    I do no this Haiti received wall to wall coverage...Haiti being one of the poorest countries on the earth.
    The tsunami at christmas a few years back received wall to wall coverage.
    I remember seeing news coverage of many other disasters...maybe not to the degree of Haiti or the tsunami...but enough coverage to make me aware they exist.

    seemed like Aussies are covering the sandy hurricane pretty much as close to wall to wall as possible... I do think when it comes to disasters in another hemipshere (aussie bushfires,floods etc) the opposite hemipshere isn't going to cover as much in detail naturally.
    I'm just flying around the other side of the world to say I love you

    Sha la la la i'm in love with a jersey girl

    I love you forever and forever :)

    Adel 03 Melb 1 03 LA 2 06 Santa Barbara 06 Gorge 1 06 Gorge 2 06 Adel 1 06 Adel 2 06 Camden 1 08 Camden 2 08 Washington DC 08 Hartford 08
  • Jason PJason P Posts: 16,818
    I think the deaths in Haiti and elsewhere were glossed over because the storm was coming for the US.

    The American media loves disaster coverage but local trumps foreign when in direct competition.
  • lukin2006lukin2006 Posts: 9,087
    In any country local will usually trump international...

    I don't think the earthquake in Haiti was going to effect the US ;).
    I have certain rules I live by ... My First Rule ... I don't believe anything the government tells me ... George Carlin

    "Life Is What Happens To You When Your Busy Making Other Plans" John Lennon
  • ZosoZoso Posts: 6,425
    Jason P wrote:
    I think the deaths in Haiti and elsewhere were glossed over because the storm was coming for the US.

    The American media loves disaster coverage but local trumps foreign when in direct competition.

    right..when it does't directly effect you locally it's hard to justify giving it coverage.
    I'm just flying around the other side of the world to say I love you

    Sha la la la i'm in love with a jersey girl

    I love you forever and forever :)

    Adel 03 Melb 1 03 LA 2 06 Santa Barbara 06 Gorge 1 06 Gorge 2 06 Adel 1 06 Adel 2 06 Camden 1 08 Camden 2 08 Washington DC 08 Hartford 08
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 21,747
    Why should we care about the rest of the world? America is the center of the universe. We were born to rule. We are the best and the biggest. And we make the best Cheez Doodles. The other little people need to get this.

    Toot!
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • ZosoZoso Posts: 6,425
    brianlux wrote:
    Why should we care about the rest of the world? America is the center of the universe. We were born to rule. We are the best and the biggest. And we make the best Cheez Doodles. The other little people need to get this.

    Toot!

    Romney 2012!

    woot!
    I'm just flying around the other side of the world to say I love you

    Sha la la la i'm in love with a jersey girl

    I love you forever and forever :)

    Adel 03 Melb 1 03 LA 2 06 Santa Barbara 06 Gorge 1 06 Gorge 2 06 Adel 1 06 Adel 2 06 Camden 1 08 Camden 2 08 Washington DC 08 Hartford 08
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 21,747
    Zoso wrote:
    brianlux wrote:
    Why should we care about the rest of the world? America is the center of the universe. We were born to rule. We are the best and the biggest. And we make the best Cheez Doodles. The other little people need to get this.

    Toot!

    Romney 2012!

    woot!

    :lol: :lol: :lol:
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • SmellymanSmellyman AsiaPosts: 2,936
    Manila, the philippines get rocked by much worse typhoons than Sandy with lives devastated. Never a peep in the news...
  • MotoDCMotoDC Posts: 947
    Media coverage is unfortunate. Only serves to reinforce the isolated, or maybe insulated?, feeling many Americans have.

    Bad jokes are also unfortunate...
    Why should we care about the rest of the world? America is the center of the universe. We were born to rule. We are the best and the biggest. And we make the best Cheez Doodles. The other little people need to get this.

    Toot!
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 21,747
    MotoDC wrote:
    Media coverage is unfortunate. Only serves to reinforce the isolated, or maybe insulated?, feeling many Americans have.

    Bad jokes are also unfortunate...
    Why should we care about the rest of the world? America is the center of the universe. We were born to rule. We are the best and the biggest. And we make the best Cheez Doodles. The other little people need to get this.

    Toot!

    Both are so true (although I would go with "insulated" on the first part.)

    My apologies if the bad joke offended-- I should probably avoid sarcasm (although to be fair, that's Stones fault).
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 21,747
    MotoDC wrote:
    Media coverage is unfortunate. Only serves to reinforce the isolated, or maybe insulated?, feeling many Americans have.

    Bad jokes are also unfortunate...
    Why should we care about the rest of the world? America is the center of the universe. We were born to rule. We are the best and the biggest. And we make the best Cheez Doodles. The other little people need to get this.

    Toot!

    The other thing I want to add here is that I do understand the difficulties people are going through. We lose power her at least twice a year. A few years ago my wife and I were snowed in with no power and no way out (unless we wanted to walk three miles down hill and back up in the snow to the nearest business which probably had not power) for almost four days. During that same storm one of our neighbors, a very nice man who loved cats and always smiled and waved when we walked by, died in his home trying to keep warm with a portable gas heater. He asphyxiated himself. These are not easy situations, often heartbreaking, and my thoughts and best wishes go out to everyone back east AND in Manila who are much less comfortable tonight than I am. I wish them all well.
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
  • Jason PJason P Posts: 16,818
    Zoso wrote:
    Jason P wrote:
    I think the deaths in Haiti and elsewhere were glossed over because the storm was coming for the US.

    The American media loves disaster coverage but local trumps foreign when in direct competition.

    right..when it does't directly effect you locally it's hard to justify giving it coverage.
    Yeah, but that's kind of human nature mixed in too. It's like when your watching the morning news and see a report where a ferry capsized in Thailand and 200 people are missing your like "Holy Shit! That's horrible!". And five minute later you are working on a crossword puzzle and are unlikely to think of it again. But if it happens in your hometown, there will weeks of coverage, candlelight vigils, and yearly anniversaries to honor those that died.

    If a person really digests every tragedy that happens world wide, their head will explode or they will end up with a fixed facial expression similar to Sean Penn.
  • ZosoZoso Posts: 6,425
    Jason P wrote:
    Zoso wrote:
    Jason P wrote:
    I think the deaths in Haiti and elsewhere were glossed over because the storm was coming for the US.

    The American media loves disaster coverage but local trumps foreign when in direct competition.

    right..when it does't directly effect you locally it's hard to justify giving it coverage.
    Yeah, but that's kind of human nature mixed in too. It's like when your watching the morning news and see a report where a ferry capsized in Thailand and 200 people are missing your like "Holy Shit! That's horrible!". And five minute later you are working on a crossword puzzle and are unlikely to think of it again. But if it happens in your hometown, there will weeks of coverage, candlelight vigils, and yearly anniversaries to honor those that died.

    If a person really digests every tragedy that happens world wide, their head will explode or they will end up with a fixed facial expression similar to Sean Penn.

    case in point.. I was over in Australia when Katrina hit but not being here and invovled in sandy it's obviously something that hits me harder.
    I'm just flying around the other side of the world to say I love you

    Sha la la la i'm in love with a jersey girl

    I love you forever and forever :)

    Adel 03 Melb 1 03 LA 2 06 Santa Barbara 06 Gorge 1 06 Gorge 2 06 Adel 1 06 Adel 2 06 Camden 1 08 Camden 2 08 Washington DC 08 Hartford 08
  • polaris_xpolaris_x Posts: 13,345
    if people in the first world REALLY cared for people in poor nations ... we wouldn't have global warming, political instability, wars, suicide bombers and starvation ...
  • pandorapandora Posts: 21,855
    nations? how about US cities ...

    :wtf: is up with Staten Island? why no help?

    I guess that concept can be applied to countries as well

    and don't we just love where too much of the donations go to
    in times of disaster.

    That is the most obscene, somebody getting rich off off of heartfelt money. :twisted:

    "Judge yourself if you feel the need
    Just let me known to be
    In search of the truth myself
    There is a drop of blood on the ground
    And it seems to me that it's not my kind
    And I can't be sure if its yours or mine."
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 21,747
    pandora wrote:
    nations? how about US cities ...

    :wtf: is up with Staten Island? why no help?

    I guess that concept can be applied to countries as well

    and don't we just love where too much of the donations go to
    in times of disaster.

    That is the most obscene, somebody getting rich off off of heartfelt money. :twisted:

    Yeah, the situation on Staten Island is disgraceful. From what I understand that island is home for many of the areas service workers- including police and fireman, the very people who do the hard work of helping others- and they get all but ignored during the most crucial days after the storm. Pathetic.
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
    AMT, 1.25.15, 00:36 hrs.
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.
Sign In or Register to comment.