Great tweet from Dave Peery this morning:
"It wasn't the earthquake in #haiti that killed so many people, it was the poverty. SanFran '89, we experienced a 7.0 earthquake - 63 dead."
Poverty is the real killer in any number of natural and social disasters:
- The 2005 mudslides in California killed 14. A year later, comparable rains in the Philippians cost at least 400 lives.
- In the US, 7 of every 1000 children die before the age of 5. In Afghanistan, it's 257.
- In the US, a newly diagnosed AIDS patient can expect to live about 20 years. In Zimbabwe, they'll likely be dead in a year and a half.
Weather patterns, viruses, and childhood are not inherently different in developing contexts, but scarcity or lack of resources from clean water to medical treatment, to building materials fundamentally alters how they are experienced. Poverty is like an exponent for suffering. The poor experience drought-squared, disease-squared, disaster-squared.
It's time we figured out how to "square" our efforts as well.