Giving was at its peak in the first days following the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But the donations have been lagging compared to other natural disasters such as the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina.
According to The Washington Post, the American Red Cross has raised $47 million for victims in Japan as of last Wednesday, whereas after the same amount of time following the Haiti earthquake it had raised $92.3 million.
Last Tuesday, President Donna E. Shalala sent out an e-mail to the University of Miami community informing students of this calamity and the University’s response. Unfortunately, no one yet has organized a fundraiser to assist those who are suffering from this crisis.
In contrast, students, faculty and staff from the Miller School of Medicine, School of Architecture and School of Communication all contributed positively to Haiti and have not forgotten their commitment to reconstructing Haiti. As a developing country, it suffers from poverty and a poor infrastructure. Because their needs were obvious since day one, the catastrophe pushed many around the world to become activists. Haiti is close to the United States and was a poverty-stricken country before the earthquake hit.
Japan, however, is an industrialized country with a strong government and has the third largest economy in the world. With that said, not only have many non-profit organizations stepped back from fundraising for Japan, but people have expressed little interest in this national disaster. Japan is still in need of the basics: shelter, water, food, medical aid, clothes and more. If the majority of people adopt this outlook, then where is the international aid and support?
Regardless of how industrialized a country is, we think that the university should still raise awareness and help alleviate the suffering in Japan. Just as our school responded to Haiti’s tragedy last year, we should do the same for Japan.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.