If you didn’t already know, Nepal experienced a significant earthquake that claimed 3600-3800 lives on Saturday, 4/25/2015. It may be even more at this point. As beautiful as life is, it can be pretty brutal sometimes too. This morning, I noticed there were several sites showing how to donate to the relief effort. You know what I thought of? Haiti.
Have you seen Haiti lately? It’s not like it’s a hell of a lot better than it was back in 2010 and $1.4 billion was donated by the US that year alone. I believe about $13 billion was eventually raised. So what happened? How could so many people raise that amount of money to help the needy yet the needy haven’t been helped nearly as much as you would have thought once it was no longer a hot news story?
There have been successes for sure. People were fed and given temporary housing. But then other actually lost their new housing to make way for new government buildings. Around 85000 people are in displacement camps with sanitary issues while many others have just opted to building sheds on whatever land they can get a hold of. More affluent areas that had no earthquake victims had new property built for some reason. Hell, $18 million was spent on a rec center and soccer field while people live in squalor nearby.
Vice recently interviewed this dude Jake Johnston who investigated what was going on with Haiti and he found most non-government donated money gets used for emergency relief while government donated money… well that’s a whole other story.
So this one blew my mind: the US embassy actually paid for houses to be built in Haiti… for their own employees. Meanwhile, they never came anywhere near close to completing their projected housing goals while also going way over the intended cost. On top of all this, the companies hired for this work redacts the hell out of their documents so visibility is practically at zero.
I REALLY hope Nepal isn’t the new Haiti, but there’s no way to really know. Experiences like Haiti can potentially sour others on the power of charity. It doesn’t take much to make someone jaded, especially when they try to go out of their way to do some good in this world. Rather than let that happen, let’s put some pressure on our respective governments to be open about where relief money goes. I understand that we don’t have to give anything at all, but that’s not the mindset I think we should have here. Charity is good. Helping others is good. Ulterior motives while helping others? Misrepresenting where money is going? That’s bad.
I’m not certain how to go about demanding more information about relief efforts, but I do know there’s power in numbers. If you happen to feel the way I do or are involved in something that pertains to this topic, let me know! I’m going to keep reading and whatnot so I can hopefully learn more. Then perhaps I can make an impact, hopefully along with some good people out there.
Peace out, party people.
Previously: Daily Opinion: Making a Case for Bronies