Political Disasters Warrant the Same Aid as Natural Catastrophes
April 7, 2014
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One of the key problems with the nation today is the discrepancy between political disasters and natural catastrophes in the amount in donations that they receive when both are equally worthy of aid.
The Civil War in Syria has entered its third year of conflict. Death tolls have now surpassed 150,000, and countless people have lost their homes and members of their families. Many have found their way to refugee camps in neighboring countries, but problems such as lack of proper supplies and food sources are still prominent. These problems are publicized constantly by the media and by amateur footage, yet the financial donations to the Syrian conflict are noticeably unequal to those for natural disasters.
The 2011 Japanese tsunamai resulted in the deaths of nearly 20,000 people and received over $700 million from US donors. This event was obviously destructive and deadly but not any more than the violent clashes in Syria, which has resulted in nearly 8 times the amount of deaths as the tsunami has. Despite this fact, the US has raised little over $400 million in aid for the Syrian refugees. Even though the Japanese tsunami occurred around the same time that war was breaking out in Syria, the donation amounts for the two causes are surprisingly different.
This brings the motives of American donors into question. The money for each cause goes towards essentially the same things: warm clothes, food, clean water, and care for orphaned children. Why do people feel the need to give when a natural disaster causes these problems but have less sympathy for the same issues when they are caused by violence or war? I think it may be the subconscious fear that a natural disaster could one day displace many of us in the U.S, placing us in the same position of need. In contrast, a civil war is much less plausible in our nation’s relatively calm political atmosphere. It is possible that the unequal amount of donations is due to a personal bias in American donors.
Whatever the reason may be, the fact remains that refugees in Syria require just as much help as those affected by natural disasters. I believe that people need to reevaluate the reasons for why they give money as these reasons are more complex than simply feeling a desire to reach out to the less fortunate. If it was that simple, there would not be such an obvious difference in relief aid between natural disasters and military conflicts.