Saturday 9 February 2013

It's the poor that gets the disaster

We are used to the idea that it is usually the poor who suffer most from natural disasters.   They tend to live in less sturdy dwellings in more dangerous places, have poorer access to telecommunications for warnings etc

But we have had a reminder this week that they are also more likely to be victims of man-made disasters.   At least 53 people are known to have been killed in a crash between a bus and a lorry about 60 miles north of Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.

The accident happened on a busy road as the bus was reportedly swerving to avoid an oncoming vehicle.    Roads in Zambia are often poorly maintained and vehicles overloaded, but this is believed to have been one of the worst accidents in the country’s history.

Meanwhile in Bangladesh, a ferry capsized on the Meghna River, near the capital, Dhaka, plunging scores of passengers into the water.    Only two bodies have so far been recovered, but up to 40 are still missing.  Ferry accidents are common on the country’s vast river network.    In March last year, more than 112 people drowned when a ferry collided with an oil tanker and sank also in the Meghna.

*My account of the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840’s from A Disastrous History of the World has been reproduced on this website.!/2013/01/the-irish-potato-famine_9376.html

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