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Mudslide in the Phillipines

February 19th, 2006

The latest news from the mudslide in the Phillipines is grim. There have been no more people rescued from the village of Guinsaugon, even though students and teachers in the local school survived the intial slide and sent text messages calling for help. The Australian government is giving $1 million for relief and rescue.

In general, the world is pretty good about responding to disasters of this kind. But it’s worth remembering that the huge death toll associated with these disasters is often the result of the poverty of those affected, and that it is in our collective power to end extreme poverty once and for all. Simple improvements in health care and agrlculture would save millions of lives every year.

We should be pressing the government to maintain, every day of the year, the generosity it shows on occasions like this, and doing our individual best to help as well.

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  1. February 20th, 2006 at 11:23 | #1

    Dear John

    I agree with you that there is a need to end absolute poverty, but there are powerful forces working against this, including our own government and the affluent lifestyle we all seem to desire so much.

    Some reports are coming in with comment on the deforestation of some of the high slopes in the area, saying that this helped cause the mudslide. We need to redouble our efforts to ensure that illegally harvested logs are not allowed to enter this country (A$300 million worth did last year). There needs to be a redoubling of efforts to ensure compliance by Australian companies with transparency and good corporate governance laws.

    We should be using diplomatic pressure to ensure that Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are also banning illegal logs (which they are failing to do currently). We should not be giving aid, training or weapons to the Philippines military (or the Indonesian or Thai military) if they are still involved in illegal logging and inevitably, human rights abuses (as they were previously).

    Unfortunately our pragmatic Australian government is far more concerned in keeping good relations with powerful and corrupt elites (as they were in Iraq) than with ending absolute poverty or protecting environmental values. Meanwhile we can expect a series of environmental disasters and the unabated, almost total destruction of tropical forests in our region. As for indigenous people, their resources continue to be stolen from them, as they are driven further into absolute poverty.

    All the new A$1 million apartments around us seem to have plenty of teak outdoor furniture on the patio. Perhaps we should be asking more questions about where it came from – because we are not paying the real cost when we buy it.

    Well done the Howard government with a quick offer of aid. The hard part is the long haul of having sustainable policies that are an example in this region. That also means getting serious about our commitment to end excessive land clearing and unsustainable forest practices in Australia. Stop sniggering!

    Regards
    Willy Bach

  2. February 25th, 2006 at 08:37 | #2

    I can’t beleive the mudslide happen I feel sorry for the phillipines died I do not know why they live near that place but i just don’t know why like common like a mudslide whoever thought about that are stupid and I just hate it like why. Like to me if that happened to my country like i would just hate that like why a mudslide like omg

  3. February 25th, 2006 at 08:37 | #3

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