A real crisis

July 23rd, 2011 — 11:56am, 4 comments »

There has been outrage of late among the Australian community, reflected in the blog world as well, about the ill treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesian abattoirs.  While I certainly don’t condone the torture of animals, I am struck by the silence and lack of similar passion around the inhumane living conditions of our fellow human beings.  In case you haven’t been following the news, there is a food shortage and the Horn of Africa – Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya -  is experiencing  what is being described as the worst humanitarian disaster in the world.  Millions of Somalians are facing starvation and are fleeing to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, now the largest in the world.  Many children and infants arrive  in time to die.  Maybe I’ve missed it, but I haven’t heard outraged Australians flooding radio call lines about this tragedy.  In fact, I don’t hear people talking about it at all.  Maybe I just don’t get out enough.

I usually make a point of averting my eyes from images such as the one below.  I know it happens but I don’t want to see.  It’s just too much.  But sometimes we need to look.  Face the reality.  Be shocked.  Think.  Be aware.  Do something?

photo – able2know.org

You can click on the following organisations to read about how they are responding to this crisis.

Australian Red Cross



Refugee Council of Australia

Unicef Australia

Queensland Flood Disaster

January 17th, 2011 — 8:06pm, 3 comments »

These are photos my eldest son took in our neighbourhood last week.  The second one is of my youngest son’s school.  It’s all a bit surreal because we – the rest of the family – aren’t there.  Five days ago as we left Brisbane airport for a  family holiday (minus one) to Japan, the Darling  Downs area had been ravaged by flash foods and flooding was expected in Brisbane that very day.  A very strange start to a vacation.  We spent much of our time in transit – and since -  accessing news (what would we do without iPhones and laptops?) and trying to communicate to others back home and elsewhere.  Had my parents who live near Toowoomba left their home an hour later -  they would have been flooded in.  Thankfully their home is high and dry and so are ours.

However, for so many people throughout Queensland this is not the case.  Their homes and communities are devastated and the ramifications will continue for a long time.  It’s all so hard to believe.

While not wanting to romanticise this disaster for a minute,  I can’t help but be impressed by how these situations bring communities and the world together.  Back home volunteers are helping to clean up the mud and rubble.  Here in Japan strangers have stopped to ask where we’re from and show their concern.  This morning I got an email from a friend in Bangladesh. She works with a group of slum youths in Dhaka who had been asking her about the situation in Queensland.  I find that amazing.