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Boxing Day, 2005, Revisited

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posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 12:21 PM
The origin of “Boxing Day” is lost in antiquity. In the feudal period, servants gathered at the manor house for a Christmas feast. On the day following Christmas, the Lord of the manor gave a bonus to the servants including cloth, grain and tools, nicely boxed. Another possible origin is the long history of house servants working on Christmas Day but having the day following off for themselves. They would open presents and hence, that day came to be known as “Boxing Day.” It was first recognized by law in England's Bank Holidays Act of 1871.

The UN’s World Health Organization and World Tourist Organization did a study on the progress in rebuilding the major damages sustained in the tsunami of that day around the Indian Ocean. The report is based on data from May, 2006. Here’s a list of the countries effected and the total dollar value of damage to be repaired by outside NGOs. Indonesia, $4.5 billion. India, $2.6 billion. Sri Lanka, $1.5 billion. In the province of Aceh, in a rebellious area in Indonesia, Habitat for Humanity of Americus, GA, built 800 houses, but is now reassessing the need to tear down and rebuild 750 of those houses. Save the Children built 708 houses in the same province, but 64 of them had to be taken down and rebuilt, and every one remaining required extensive repairs. More than 100,000 Aceh people have lived more than 1 ½ years in tents. Remind you of Katrina?

The NGOs are sharply criticized for building houses but not schools, health clinics, community centers, local government buildings, sewers and electric wiring networks. It other words, they have built houses but none of the infrastructure that civilized communal living required. This is not to directly criticize the NGOs for replacing lost housing. It is to suggest the idea that you can turn everyone loose, not under any kind of direction and regulation, will not work. The money spent has been wasted. In Sri Lanka houses were built without enough windows; the heat made the houses uninhabitable. In other words, well-intended foreigners built houses by the plans they brought with them, but never took time to consult the people who were to live in the houses. Of 200 fishing boats donated, half were unseaworthy and the other half too small. What’s the matter with the world’s rich nations? Arrogant? Or ignorant? Or ignorantly arrogant or arrogantly ignorant?

Yes, everyone was grateful for the prompt assistance rendered by the various foreign militaries, especially the US Navy. That quick aid prevented the worst of diseases that would have killed more than the tsunami killed. There was the usual theft of much needed money by people who were entrusted with it. Indonesia found more than $5 million went missing the first week following the tsunami. Recall that in NO, the unprepared FEMA had a contract with a Dutch company to feed the homeless, and we, the US taxpayers, paid Holland $14 for a peanut butter and jelly on a bun. This is what you get when you globalize and privatize on no-bid contracts.

Summary. Several billions of dollars have been spent in poorly planned and shoddily constructed housing that is missing an infrastructure to make dense living possible. Yes, price gouging was rampant across the Indian Ocean. Zoning and minimal construction standards are unknown to the region. Developer impact payments are foreign to them. This is not to say they are bad people, or even uninformed people, but it is to say or ask, how many times to we have to invent the wheel?

We know that Mt. Vesuvius is past due for a major eruption. Just imagine Mr. St. Helens or Mt. Pinatubo in the south of Italy. The Western Hemisphere is frequently stuck by earthquakes and everyone in CA dreads the day of the “Big Eight Oh.” Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Ice storms. Floods. Mud slides. Heat waves. Drought. And yes, another tsunami is bound to happen. So, let’s get organized. Let’s get prepared fo a natural disaster. This preparation will go far to minimizing our losses should an accident such as a laboratory loose 100 pounds of anthrax into the atmosphere around Baltimore or such. Or just bump along, from one crisis to another. And reinvent the wheel every generation.

[edit on 9/24/2006 by donwhite]

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