Sunday, November 17, 2013

TYPHOON HAIYAN

So many of the tragedies in the world are entirely man - made but Typhoon Haiyan and the deaths disaster and destruction wreaked in the Philippines  is at first sight not a man made disaster.

Of course there are arguments to the effect that global warming resulting from mankind's activities around the planet caused what appears to be the fiercest winds and storm ever recorded  but that is best left  to experts to debate.

 What is clear for the rest of us is that thousands of people through no fault of their own have been hit, many have died most have had their houses  villages and towns destroyed and the survivors including tiny children are suffering enormously.

One of the  features   of UK life at present is that we seem to be more afflicted than many by what appears to be a soppy sentimentality as illustrated by many of the TV programmes on a Saturday night which  attract the largest numbers of viewers (no names no pack drill).

 However  my 'soppy sentimentality' definition shows itself up as  particularly narrow     when the other side of the coin is revealed, namely the same peoples' reactions to huge scale natural disaster. A few days back I think the prime minister indicated that the government would match  people's donations £ for £ up to  a maximum of £5m over and above the £10m previously promised.

UK  People's donations have already vastly exceed that £5m. EG Jesuit Missions in Wimbledon made an appeal at all Sunday masses today and Saturday night. Apart from the  subsequent amounts of cash collections,  their  online donations page (of course going well beyond SW19/20) at:

  www.virginmoneygiving.com/TyphoonHaiyan

signifies that almost £40,000 has already been raised online   by JM.

Of course many other governments, charities  peoples  and the United Nations have done likewise but others seem to have allowed political arguments to  affect their support.

For example I know that China has had some kind of territorial dispute with the Philippines. However rather than let that argument colour the amount of Chinese financial support for its neighbour in  huge unrelated distress, I should have thought that  generous humanitarian support without regard to politics would not only have assisted fellow human beings in dire distress but also afterwards would not have harmed the political arguments which doubtless could be picked up later.

 I should add that so far the Chinese  have made some financial provision but maybe it is slightly parsimonious?

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