a little east of reality

Monday, September 05, 2005

world response

Wanda asked in a post (Aug 31) why the world wasn't responding to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. This prompted me to a do a little searching. I knew how my own government had responded ($10 million through Red Cross and the offer of disaster experts) but I was curious about how the rest of the world was responding. I found this summary and it was a nice surprise.

A couple of the offers really touched me. The first was from Sri Lanka. Though their contribution (US$25,000) is relatively small compared to other nations, to me it had a feel of the widow's mite (vs 1-4) about it, because Sri Lanka are still rebuilding from their own devastation at the hands of the huge tsunami that hit last December 26.

The second was from Cuba. Yes, Cuba! After a 40 year US-imposed embargo designed to destroy the Cuban economy, Fidel Castro has put aside his fight with a government who has tried to have him assassinated no less than five times, in order to focus on people in need. Cuba has offered the very direct assistance of 1100 doctors and 26 tonnes of medicines, and judging by the information given in John's blog, I think the medicines in particular would be most appreciated. People before politics. I think that's absolutely awesome.

I also loved the response of the EU 25-nation bloc: "Whatever they ask for, it will be given, from reserves of oil ... to any other thing that they may need." As simple as that: what they need, we will give. That's beautiful.

Of course I was as upset as others were (Sep 4) at news that the US government was being slow about accepting these offers of aid while their citizens perished for want of it, but I couldn't let that blind me to the flood of compassion these offers represent.