DISASTERS: the poor always suffer the most


It seems the poor always suffer the most

      Whether it’s natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, lava flows, etc.) or man made disasters (war, climate disaster, toxic pollution, etc.) it seems the poor always suffer the most. The rich have more options. The poor have few, if any, options.

      In most natural disasters, those with money can easily relocate, and often have a second or third home to go. Some poor people don’t even have enough gas money to get to a disaster shelter. Who bore the burden in hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, and hurricane Harvey in Houston? Poor communities also usually bear the burden of toxic pollution. Flint Michigan’s lead water is a case in point. The Hawaiian Homestead area in Keaukaha in Hilo has as a next door toxic neighbor -–the airport, dump, fuel tanks, sewage plant, harbor, chemicals, etc.

      In wars such as Vietnam, the rich like Donald Trump and George Bush, easily found ways to avoid the draft and they certainly didn’t go to jail for nonviolent resistance to the war. The poor end up drafted or enlisting and dying in a rich man’s war for resources. In today’s wars, those being killed, injured and made refugees are disproportionately poor. Look at Palestine, Syria, etc.

      Puna, Hawaii, the site of the current lava flow, is the poorest district in the state, with thousands of lots in substandard subdivisions, many in high risk lava zones or near the toxic neighbor –Puna Geothermal Venture. Read the book “Land & Power in Hawaii” by George Cooper and Gaven Daws. Also read the article by Alan D. McNarie http://www.civilbeat.org/2018/05/big-island-how-land-schemes-turned-lava-fields-into-subdivisions/ By contrast the Kona-Kohala coast on the west side of Hawaii island is known as the Gold Coast with it’s many rich gated communities and high end resorts. The resorts never built housing for their employees, so many employees have to commute from distant Puna and Ka’u poor districts. Economic apartheid!

      I haven’t heard of one hotel offering free or discounted rooms to people displaced from the lava. And what of long range plans for people who have been displaced and have lost their homes, farms, businesses, etc.? Is it not the role of government to help? But where will the money come from you ask? That’s easy. From the FY 2019 Donald Trump proposed U.S. military budget of $681.1 billion. After all, what are we defending? And once we have recovered from disaster, we can begin the work of building a new economy from the ground up. That starts with growing food to feed Hawaii’s population instead of importing 90% of food consumed here. That will demand policy changes away from addiction to war and catering to the rich. The endless growth of tourism and militarism is killing Hawaii and the planet. Pele is telling us we need a fresh start and that we need to work together.

Live Aloha! Blessed are the Poor…

  1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties.
    4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hawaiian, etc.
    5. Seek peace through peaceful means and work for justice in Hawai`i and around the world.

Contact: Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action

P.O. Box 489 Kurtistown, Hawai’i 96760 Phone (808) 966-7622. Email: ja@malu-aina.org

Sign up on our website to receive our posts  http://www.malu-aina.org/

May 25, 2018 Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet — 870th week – Fridays 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office