The Poor Get Poorer and the Rich Get Richer
|Poor people during the Tsunami were not being given ‘official priority’ according to new reports published today
During the tsunami disaster poor communities were left much more vulnerable due to their fragile homes with a tendency for relief efforts to instead focus on business people and landowners.
Razir Begum asks what kind of society allows the poor to get poorer and the rich to get richer?
A geographical coincidence meant that the tsunami affected some of the poorest people in each of the three worst hit countries. Surely this should mean that the poor should receive top priority? This apparently was not the case. Take for example the Dallit communities whose income is reliant upon the salt pans. During the tsunami their salt pans were completely destroyed by the waves, however they were not given official precedence, why? Because their homes were not destroyed.
Barbara Stocking (Director of Oxfam Great Britain) said: “The tsunami has hit poor people the hardest and has left them with the biggest problems. The generous response of the public, especially Asian communities, has given us an opportunity to help people work their way out of poverty.”
Asian communities across the UK have given a huge amount of support to the tsunami appeal. This money has been vital in helping poor communities recover from the tsunami’s devastating effects.
The poorest people during the tsunami were left helpless and dying without any medical care, part of which was due to the inaccessibility to health care who are often secluded and as a result do not receive all the medical attention they deserve. Even before the tsunami, wide parts of the region were desperately poor which has made it increasingly difficult for aid agencies to reach all the affected districts.
Anna Mitchell, Oxfam worker in Sri Lanka, said: “The money raised in the UK is really helping people get back on their feet. Oxfam is working hard to ensure that the most vulnerable and the poorest people do not fall through the gaps.”
Oxfam’s main aim is to rebuild homes and lives for the local people in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia after the tsunami unfolded. In a report published, Oxfam has discovered that poor communities need further support and are urging world leaders gathering in Gleneagles to tackle the kind of poverty that made the tsunami’s impact so devastating.
The Tsunami is an event that will always stay on in our minds; it has demonstrated to the world the type of natural disasters that unfold on our planet.
Words: Razir Begum
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