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Why we give more after natural disasters

People are far more inclined to help victims of natural disaster than victims of armed conflict, even when there’s a similar magnitude of need—making Syrian humanitarian fundraising difficult for Western aid agencies.  It’s an alarming pattern as winter nears, given the ghastly scale of suffering in besieged communities of Syria, where more than 100,000 have been killed, and among two million refugees in neighbouring countries—mostly Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. Last week in Ottawa, members of a newly-formed alliance of aid agencies from Canada and Europe discussed the difficulty of raising money for Syrians while the conflict is still underway. Even knowing that their appeals could fall flat, that the moment was not right, they felt pressured to go ahead…


Mental Preparedness Exercises for Natural Disasters

The trauma following natural disasters can be long-lasting and devastating. At the very least, many people feel insecure and unable to return to normalcy. However, certain exercises can boost one’s mental preparedness, which makes it possible to cope with challenges that might arise after occurrences like natural disasters, the death of a loved one, terrorist attacks and other traumatic experiences. The rate at which people adapt to such incidences varies, so it’s important to know some strategies now, strengthen your mental resilience in the future. Read on to learn about some of the most effective mental exercises to help you bounce back…


Typhoon-ravaged Philippine province of Leyte Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA/Landov

Typhoon-ravaged Philippine province of Leyte
Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA/Landov

Today’s View : Are calamities about resilience, or injustice?

“Unbelievably resilient, long suffering, good natured, uber friendly, loyal, ingenius, and a bunch of survivors(sic)” (a comment posted on CNN’s website on why Filipinos survive calamities year after year –editor’s note). The first two phrases (“unbelievably resilient and long suffering”) can, at some point, be anti-virtues. Why not strive to be able to avert threats to your existence and have to ability to avoid suffering instead? Isn’t adaptability one of the primary evolutionary advantages of humans? We know we live in the Pacific Rim of Fire so we should expect strong earthquakes. We know that we live in the path of Pacific typhoons so we should expect strong typhoons. Perhaps we should enact and enforce building codes with these two facts of life in mind? Perhaps we should also have standard evacuation routes? In the southeastern states in the US, most cities have evacuation route signs all over the place. People actively prepare for a hurricane. I spent almost two years in Florida with no hurricanes making landfall but people prepared every time nonetheless. What sort of preparation do they do? Well it varies from the standard “bottled water + flashlights” to the “zombie survival pack” as I call it (essentially stockpiling every possible thing)…


11-Year-Old Florida Boy’s Redesigned Sandbag Could Help Millions During Natural Disasters

Having lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida all his life, 11-year-old Peyton Robertson is well aware of the havoc caused by hurricanes. At the tender age of 4 he suffered through Hurricane Wilma, one of the most intense tropical cyclones from the Atlantic and then just last year experienced Hurricane Sandy, the deadliest, most destructive storm of the 2012 season and the second most costliest of all US storms…


Haiti, the Forgotten Victim of Hurricane Sandy

Before Superstorm Sandy made its way up to the Northeast crippling the tri-state area, it had already left its deadly mark — as a hurricane — in the Caribbean. Still recovering from a devastating earthquake in 2010, and Tropical Storm Isaac in August 2012, Haiti was the last place prepared for another natural disaster. And though Hurricane Sandy only reached the edges of the island, it soaked its southern region with more than 20 inches of rainfall, killing more than 70 people and leaving hundreds of thousands of Haitians homeless. But beyond the carnage caused by Hurricane Sandy, Haiti faces a broader challenge: fatigue. “Damage to Haiti from Hurricane Sandy has been largely forgotten in the world media,” Deborah Jenson, director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Duke University, told Al Jazeera. “However, even in Haiti, it may have faded into an accumulating continuum of natural disasters for all but the most directly affected. It is a challenge among challenges.”…




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