Topic 2 – Economic inequity

Unit 7 – Economic Inequity

I found an article in Scientific American that describes the patterns of migration of people in counties that are affected by natural disasters.

The first key point is the most important – it deals directly with economic inequality. The authors of the article say that when a natural disaster happens, the wealthier residents of a county are more likely to leave the area than the poorer residents of the county.

Another point of the article was slightly more obvious, at least it seemed like that to me – residents of a place that’s more likely to be hit by a natural disaster, like a coastline or river plane, are also more likely to leave if they experience a natural disaster. To me, it seems like the disaster is sort of acting as a wake-up call to the residents of the area.

The final key point that I got from the article was the conclusion that the authors drew – wealth inequality is causing poor people to be more effected by natural disasters, and that problem is only going to get worse through time as richer people are able to move away from dangerous regions.

I selected this article because it was interesting to read, and it seemed like a pretty reliable source. Also, instead of just looking at the death rates or dollar amount of damage in different areas after natural disasters, the authors looked at other impacts that natural disasters have.

Economic Inequity: Article Breakdown

Natural Disasters, Conflict, and Human Rights: Tracing the Connections

Summary of Main Point

This article is about the many reasons why different communities and people are affected in worse ways by natural disasters than others.

Key Points

“A natural disaster is defined by the UN as: “the consequences of events triggered by natural hazards that overwhelm local response capacity and seriously affect the social and economic development of a region.””

  1.  Poverty/Poor vs. Wealthy
    1.  Dec. 10th 1988 a 6.9 M earthquake hit Armenia killing 55,000 and leaving 500,000 homeless
    2. October 1989 a 7.1 M earthquake hit San Francisco killing only 62 and leaving 12,000 homeless
    3. The poor often live in less safe environments made to withstand natural disasters
  2. Conflict + Natural Disaster
    1. place that have been affected by both simultaneously (Philippines, Iraq, Somalia, Kenya, Colombia, and Haiti)
      1. According to the definition above, people already negatively affected by conflict will have a higher chance of enduring a natural disaster due to lowered response capacity
  3. Discrimination
    1. Such as: unequal access to assistance; aid provision; enforced relocation; gender-based violence; loss of documentation; recruitment of children into fighting forces; unsafe or involuntary return or resettlement; and property restitution
    2. the Indian ocean 2004 tsunami brought such issues to light
      1. response to the tsunamis was well funded
      2. relief organizations provided well working programs
      3. due to the large amount of agencies competition between them arose causing many of them to monitor and evaluate the situations at hand revealing the forms of discrimination above
Why I Picked this Article?

I picked this article because it has abundant information about the effects of natural disasters in different instances and on who.  I think this article provides great insight on our assigned topic with a wide variety of examples of how different people and communities are unfairly treated in the event of a Natural Disaster. I also found the definition of a natural disaster the author added into their article to clarify what a natural disaster truly is.

Unit 7 Blog Post

The article I selected takes a look at how natural disasters impact poverty-stricken countries compared to richer ones. This article studied more than 7,000 disasters over the past two decades, which 1.35 million people died. It noted that 90 percent of the deaths that occurred happing in low and middle-income places throughout the world. This article also noted the effects of climate change and how many people around the globe will be impacted by rising seas, earthquakes and clime and weather extremes. It also found that low-income countries death toll per disaster was five times more than in high income countries. The article looks at a number of past disasters, but for this blog post I will focus on the cyclone that impacted Myanmar in comparison to a cyclone that impacted Australia.  The Cyclone that hit Myanmar caused 138,000 deaths while the top strength cyclone that hit Australia caused zero deaths.

One key point this article states is that “High-income countries suffer huge economic losses in disasters, but people in low-income countries pay with their lives” (Rowling, 2016). This is something that I never really thought about, but it makes sense. While poverty-stricken countries lose so much, higher income countries often have more to lose (in a sense) in terms of critical infrastructures etc. Another key point in this article is that most of the world needs to work together to better prepare and improve these “poorer” nations. The article stated that the world leaders agreed to end poverty by 2013 as a part of a new set of global development goals. Another key point made in this article talked about the ways some countries alert the public of a disaster that is about to take place.

While this article was not from a legitimate source, I found it to be very helpful and informing. My original article I started this blog post was already used by a peer and this was the second best (for me). This article talks about both the similarities and differences between high and low-income countries. I believe the two cyclone disasters show just how different nations can be in response to disasters.

Summary of Main Point

This whole article is tied directly to economic inequality. Essentially the author is talking about how although wealthier communities may sustain more fiscal damage during a disaster, it is the poorer communities that must cope with the majority of hardships. The author discusses just how poorer communities may face more risk, however, they are not helpless when it comes to an incident.

Key Points Relative to Economic Inequality 

  1. Households with more financial buffers will handle a disaster better. The example given is that a household with farm animals for example, can sell those animals if their crop is destroyed. They have a safety net provided by their assets.
  2. “Poverty and inequality drive vulnerability, but even the vulnerable have some capacities to cope with disasters (Wisner, et al., 2012). Strengthening these capacities, so long as they address needs and disaster risk in the long-term, and not simply the short-term, can enable communities to recover from disasters.” (Prevention Web)
  3. Impoverished people have a higher risk during disasters due to the inability to live outside of hazard prone areas. The idea is basically that the wealthy can afford to live in safer areas, and provide more protection for themselves if they choose to live in hazardous areas.

Article Selection

I chose this article because it directly relates to our topic. Basically it discusses how poverty influences the hazards that a community will be faced with. Think of Hurricane Katrina. Yes the US sustained an extensive amount of damage. However, lets apply the same force of Katrina to lets say Haiti. Although the financial destruction may be more in the US, the loss of life will surely be greater in Haiti. They do not have the infrastructure, or the abilities that the US has to respond to a disaster of this magnitude.