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Disaster stricken universe: how do we adapt?

by Ruth Aine - 26 August 2014

I have been thinking hard about the recent tragedies that have befallen the universe - the kind of scenarios that we have very little control over.

Terrorism is the first to make the list. How do you leave your house and within the next few minutes, find yourself with no limbs in the middle of the taxi park, numb with pain? The shock of the reality, the pain in the moment and in years to come is something that needs to be dealt with. How does anyone ever recover from such incidents? Forgive and forget? Go on and make the best of the rest of your life? This was the unfortunate scenario on 4th April 2014 when Abuja city in Nigeria woke up to a bomb blast at 6:30 am at Nyanya bus station. Two days later a total of 71 people had been confirmed dead and over 124 injured.

For many, the story of what happened at the WestGate Mall in Nairobi Kenya is somewhat still alive because it affected everyone. Not only Africans were lost in that attack, but many more nationalities. It was an indicator that we are all not safe from terror - no one is.

For those of you that use air transport, 2014 has been very frightening. A total of 701 people died in airplane crashes, two of them happening within 10 days of each other in July. Air travel has always been said to be one of the safest ever, however, in the event of anything happening, everyone on board usually dies. Malaysia Airlines MH370 crashed with 239 on board, Malaysia Airlines MH17 with 298, TransAsia Airways GE222 with 48 and Air Algerie AH5017 with 116. The year has been a huge tragedy and I do not know if the number of people using air transport has since declined,, but I can imagine that Malaysian Airlines especially, has lost a lot of income in sales with people cancelling flights, opting to use other carriers. But again, I do not see what could have been done to stop some of these accidents.

Now, as I write, Ebola outbreak in West Africa is holding the world at ransom. As I write over 1 million people have been affected by the outbreak of the disease and another 1000 died due to the disease. The cause is known – a virus that inhabits primates. The cure is still a mystery. This disease has been part of humankind since 1976 when it was first discovered in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo [Zaire then]. This Ebola outbreak has piqued the world’s interest because of its scope and the fact that it could not be contained. The last outbreaks in Uganda though have been quickly sorted out and never became a national occurrence, only affecting a few districts. It never put the whole nation on alert if I may say so.

Looking at these events or occurrences I realize that there are things in this world happening to us that no one has control over. Today they are continuing to be a part of our everyday life. There are mechanisms put into place to regulate/stop some of these things, but they are not necessarily working.

So who takes care of the world when it is hurting? Who takes care of world in its emergency, I wonder?. Do we have a mechanism in place? I do not think so, because if we did, Liberia would not be grappling with such a magnitude of the disease. We would then not be a reactionary universe dealing with non-issues as we wait for disasters to happen and then trying to fix them. I realize that the priorities are diverse and different. And one may say: well the first world countries have things in place – but they too have been shaken by terror.

In the end we are all learning on the job, which is something we have all become very good at, hence the adage – experience is the best teacher.

Is it time to look at a global disaster management system? Would such a thing make any sense at all?



Ruth Aine Tindyebwa
Blogger/Online Communications

Read her personal blog; IN DEPTH which is at www.ruthaine.com

Read more about the author and her view on being a futurist.



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