The massive earthquakes which ravaged Haiti and Chile have deserved much media attention for the past couple weeks, but now that aid has filtered in, most news outlets are again focusing on domestic politics and news. Fortunately for those seeking refuge in these countries, Americans realized their plight and donated money to help them. For other chronically impoverished people around the world, though, little media attention is paid to their never-ending struggle. Here are some of the people who need aid, too:
The African nation of Zimbabwe is still in shambles despite promises for a more open, just government under the new Mugabe-Tsvangirai partnership that rose out of last year’s corrupt election. A recent news report highlighted a woman’s ordeal against legitimized rape. There is no punishment for the rape, discrimination and manipulation of those opposed to the Zanu-pf—the nation’s ruling political party. Add to that the world’s highest rate of inflation, barely working water systems, poor security and intermittent electricity, and you can see the intense need for diplomatic intervention.
Since people are prone to focus on the latest, highest-profile disasters, most have forgotten about the turmoil in this anarchistic nation. Of course, the 2009 reports of Somali pirates hijacking cargo ships painted the nation as radical and desperate, but many civilians are suffering without government support for basic necessities like water and electricity. A shocking 60 percent of the country’s people are nomadic; 15 percent are settled farmers; others are urban. This existence reflects the nation’s inability to cope with its people. Statistical website State.gov reports that roadways are in shambles and counterfeiting has made Somalia’s shilling nearly worthless. People need help in this ravaged country to provide basic necessities, like running water in hospitals.
Since the beginning of the year, more than 100,000 Somalians have fled their homes in search of refugee camps. According to a Voice of America report, many of the camps are already saturated and, logistically, distributing aid to all those in need is a nightmare.
A recent report from the Physicians for Human Rights showed the terrible condition Burmese refugees face in Bangladesh. Twenty percent of children showed signs of extreme malnutrition, and the Kutapalong camp currently holds “30,000 Rohingya refugees housed in ramshackle huts made of twigs and ripped plastic.” These refugees have almost no food aid and need your help.
In the rural, impoverished regions of this Central American country, many children eat only one meal a day. School-provided meals are hard to fund. According to the World Factbook, more than 50 percent of the population fell below the poverty line in 2004. Help provide meals to at least one elementary school.
The Need for Worldwide Aid
If Haiti has proven anything, it is that monetary aid is necessary in rebuilding a nation and providing basic medical care. Following the earthquake, Americans donated more than $100 million via text message to the American Red Cross, and the Hope for Haiti telethon raised more than half of that amount. Sites like Global Giving make it easy to find charities which support people in the oft-forgotten countries. As the news wind down regarding natural disasters, please consider donating to another cause in a country whose woes are not as publicized by news outlets.
Pierre Lourens served for The Mycenaean in 2008-2009 as a staff writer. In that year, he took on the project of creating the first online edition of The Mycenaean. The following year, he was a co-Editor-in-Chief with Amy Kreis.