Okay Bible Thumpers…before you start heading to the corners and screaming for sinners like me to repent before the second coming, (btw, usually I just bask in the post coitus glow prior to the second coming) or pointing to the evidence of God’s Wrath, or even displaying images of your Rapture Index (Currently at 159, which translates to “fasten your seatbelts)…
Seriously, I’ve heard some of the most rational and least religious people I know suggest that there is something bigger going on…and they are right…consider the following…
Drawn by undeveloped land and fertile soil, people are flocking to disaster-prone regions.
Of the estimated 61,000 people who have died this year due to natural disasters, about 50,000 (according to today’s estimate) were victims of the 7.6 earthquake that struck Pakistan Oct. 7. In 2004, by contrast, more than 60 percent of the total natural disaster deaths were caused by the tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
So in fact, we are sitting a little better this year than last, and that is mainly because of one event. But in fact, disasters are becoming more common.
Along with the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), CRED maintains an emergency disaster database called EM-DAT. An event is categorized as a natural disaster if it kills 10 or more people or leaves at least 100 people injured, homeless, displaced or evacuated. An event is also included in the database if a country declares it a natural disaster or if requires the country to make a call for international assistance.
According to the EM-DAT, the total natural disasters reported each year has been steadily increasing in recent decades, from 78 in 1970 to 348 in 2004.
Guha-Sapir said that a portion of that increase is artificial, due in part to better media reports and advances in communications. Another reason is that beginning in the 1980s, agencies like CRED and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) began actively looking for natural disasters.
“Like in medicine, if you go out into a village and look for cases you find much more than if you just sit back and let people come to you when they’re sick,” Guha-Sapir said.
The problem of course is that as global temperatures rise, deforestation continues, and more and more land is covered with cement and pavement, we have created conditions that exacerbate the existing stresses until something has to give.
According to the
World Bank’s “Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis” report released in March, more than 160 countries have more than a quarter of their populations in areas of high mortality risks from one or more natural disasters. Taiwan was singled out as being the place on Earth most vulnerable to natural disasters, with 73 percent of it’s land and population exposed to three or more threats.
So unfortuantely for the bible thumpers, the number of deaths from natural disasters has steadily decreased as our medical corps becomes more skilled, our disaster response becomes faster (never mind Katrina), and our preparedness level goes higher. However, unfortuantely for everyone else, the growing number of homeless, injured, destitute, and displaced are only too happy to hear that there is, in fact, a greater purpose to their misery. Like the suffering post world war one germans who were only too happy to blame their problems on the Jews, the huddled masses are ripe to be swindled and misled by the shysters of organized Christianity and Islam.
I’d prefer to offer an alternate route from a buddhist perspective. We are paying the Karmic sins of those we allow to lead us. So long as we allow our leaders to practice economic discrimination, racial injustice, and murderous wars…we, the people, will have to pay the Karmic debt for our apathy. Change comes from within…