Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 5:18 AM

Killer Earthquakes: First Haiti, Now Chile…

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Natural disasters – like earthquakes – should always remind us that there but for the grace of God….  But there’s no denying that living in a relatively rich country increases one’s chance of surviving such disasters tremendously. 

For what is most significant about the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile on Saturday is the fact that, even though 500 times more powerful than the one that struck Haiti in January, the number of Chileans who died (est. 723) was less than one percent of the number of Haitians who died (est. 250,000).

It’s bad enough that accident of birth can consign one to a life of chronic poverty. It just seems unfair that even the wrath of Mother Nature affects the poor so disproportionately.

All the same, thank God much of Chile’s infrastructure remained intact. It is also encouraging that its government and law-enforcement authorities seem far more able than Haiti’s were to manage the distribution of emergency relief supplies while maintaining law and order – especially quelling the desperate as well as criminal lootings that always follow these disasters.

(By the way, if you think only poor people resort to looting, let an earthquake hit Beverly Hills, California, making it impossible for its rich residents to escape to second homes or five-star hotels.  I’m sure there would be looting there too; although, those rich folks would probably get their domestic servants to do the looting for them.)

Once again, the United States has taken the lead in responding to a country’s request for emergency relief supplies.  In fact, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to land in Chile today bearing satellite phones and other small supplies.  Included among the items requested are temporary bridges, field hospitals, electric generators, damage assessment teams, water purification systems, field kitchens, and dialysis centers.  The American Red Cross has set up a response fund to accept donations for both Chile and Haiti.  I urge you to donate now, by clicking here.

My prayers and thoughts go out to the people of Chile, especially those in coastal communities whose homes were completely washed away by the tsunami this earthquake triggered.

NOTE: Right after this earthquake struck on Saturday, American media spent more time covering the forecast of a tsunami wiping out Hawaii than on the death and destruction already playing out in Haiti. 

Meanwhile the tsunami turned out to be no more than typical Hawaiian surf.  Which I fear means that the next time the authorities blare sirens all over the state warning of that big wave, chances are that very few people are going to heed calls to evacuate.  Of course, that’s when it will hit….

Comments

  1. Dr. B Hall March 4, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    I anticipate reading your severe advice and up-date.Your comments are so serious, yet so funny.I really get a chance to enjoy a healthy laugh at the end of the day.Blessings

  2. Dr. B Hall March 4, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    I anticipate reading your severe advice and up-date.Your comments are so serious, yet so funny.I really get a chance to enjoy a healthy laugh at the end of the day.Blessings

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