Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Earthquakes and Corruption
Over the last few days new Zealand has been recovering from a major earthquake. The sort of earthquake that has your local television coming up with pictures of houses collapsed in the streets, water mains cracked and the general population in a dazed state of shock.
A 7.1 earthquake usually has the charity organizations raising funds to help the earthquake victims and the USA offering to send an aircraft carrier. It did this time but was not needed. Why?
New Zealand's quake was of this magnitude. It is on the same scale as Haiti actually Haiti's was slightly less. The picture above is not of Christchurch but of Haiti. It must be admitted that our earthquake struck at 4 am in the morning when most of our population was in bed while Haiti's earthquake struck at 4 pm in the afternoon when, luckily for Haiti, all its inhabitants were up and about. At home in bed they would have stood even less chance of survival.
Because of the early hour the streets of Christchurch were deserted so nobody was killed through falling masonry but if Haiti had had its earth quake at night the death toll would possibly have been even worse than the 200,000 because with no building codes the unsafe houses would have collapsed on the sleeping occupants at the first shake.
Out of interest I researched what has happened to Haiti in the six months since the earthquake and I was astonished to find that Haiti has done nothing. Rubble is still lying in the streets as it had the day the quake happened. Citizens are still sleeping in tents and what I find distressing and unacceptable is the enormous fund of donations enough to give every family US$37000 each has yet to be distributed.
The Government of Haiti has only distributed 2% of the fund the rest is ....... where?
So different from New Zealand where the rubble started to be removed on the first day, 90% of water and power was restored by the first evening and gangs of students and helpers moved in unasked to clear the streets and help with the clean up. In Haiti they are still waiting for someone else to do it and all the someone- elses have gone home
Two things immediately come to mind as the main differences between NZ and Haiti. They are strong building codes and the lack of corruption. The
consequence being that NZ does not need any aid and Haiti does.
Why is it that some countries just do not understand that corruption is not good for general populations? At NZ universities the architecture department runs courses in ethics and I am told that the Asian students have quite a hard time coming to grips that it is not done to bribe the building inspector even if you could in NZ as badly built buildings kill and yet it seems that the message has yet to get through.
Right in the middle of its disaster Pakistan when it badly needed the whole world's sympathy and help their well paid cricketers were caught on camera in an almighty scam. Corruption is a way of life. Bribing officials is the only way to get something done and look at the result. Badly built infrastructure. Pakistan knew if the flood plans were not managed this type of catastrophic flood would happen. It is not a a work of God but a work of stupid greedy men. Pakistan is ruled by just 22 families who own all the wealth. The President did not even bother to interrupt his visit to Europe.
Africa has its own brand of corruption and so now does UK with the vicars conducting illegal weddings for a price.
Again it is sad that it is not helpful giving money to these corrupt countries as it rarely gets to the people who need it. The donations disappears into coffers and pockets of persons unknown. However my donation always makes me feel better.