Help for Joplin lacking in the United States

The outcome of the recent sequence of tornadoes in Missouri left 138 dead, hundreds in critical condition, numerous buildings completely destroyed and dismantled, and thousands homeless and hopeless.

It was another natural disaster.

Although it has been a few months, I am positive that no one has yet forgotten the devastation that resulted from the chain of earthquakes and the tsunami that battered Japan. We clearly remember the footage that played on the news every night about the disaster that haunted Haiti. We all knew the facts about these horrible events.

How could we not? There was no escaping it.

There was hardly a website that did not offer a donation link or a store that did not have some type of fundraiser to aid the people that suffered in Japan or Haiti. Schools held multiple events that benefited these victims and even celebrities got involved in spreading awareness.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about helping those in need and am very thankful that I live in a country that is compassionate toward its neighbors. However, I do find it interesting that I have not seen a single helpline or link that raises money for those affected by the fatal tornadoes in Missouri.

While I do know that this particular natural disaster was not of the same caliber as those previously stated, Missouri is on our own soil, and is merely 1,269 miles from Phoenix, not halfway across the globe.

It is strange that we are so quick to rush to the aid of other countries, but neglect to give the same attention to our own. There is little publicity on this matter and even smaller amounts of action being initiated.  Many people do not even know about the condition of Missouri, let alone how serious it really is.

Joplin, Mo., the town that faced the most destruction from the deadly twisters, is in complete ruins. City officials said that it was the deadliest tornado since the National Weather Service began to track them, with winds reaching nearly 200 mph.

Of course, there are those who are making an effort to glue the pieces of the wounded city back together. However, the majority of the assistance is coming from the very people who suffered from the catastrophe and the local emergency personnel. With about $3 billion in damages, it will take years to re-establish the splinters of the town and many more to get the 50,000 members of the community back on their feet. It is apparent that they could use the help and humanity of their sister states, and regrettable that their pleas are not being answered to the full extent as they would if a similar disaster took place overseas.

While the aid for those affected by natural disasters is not the only issue that is overlooked in this country, and extremely acknowledged in others (for instance the adoption of orphans, hunger, and homelessness — but that’s a whole different story), if granted less than half of the amount of help that was provided to other countries in the times of need, the towns affected in Missouri could be on a fast track toward restoration.

Reach the columnist at chelsea.w.brown@asu.edu


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