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09.19 Shell and Exxon's secret 1980s climate change warnings [that capitalists suppressed this for continuing profit is the most unforgivable crime ever]Trump administration rolls back methane pollution rule despite harmful health impacts [continuing in the tradition of stupid capitalism at all costs]
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09.18 Racist rioting in Chemnitz has reopened Germany’s east-west split [We are all mixed-race after 10,000 generations. Helping suffering people makes us feel good, so become their friends instead.]
Helping Haiti’s Elders
First published in his blog Unsilent Generation yesterday, 25 January 2010
Old people tend to suffer disproportionately during disasters, and are less capable of fending for themselves in the aftermath. I suspect they also tend to be disproportionately overlooked by even the most well-meaning relief efforts.
A week ago, I posted excerpts from the heartbreaking story put out by the AP, about a group of old, infirm Haitians lying–and dying–in the streets outside their destroyed nursing home in Port-au-Prince. According to a follow-up story in the Washington Post, they finally got some attention from relief workers on Saturday, more than 10 days after the earthquake took place. According to the post, the first group to visit the elders was “a team of 13 doctors funded by the Venezuelan government,” who ”evaluated the patients, changed dressings on their wounds and promised to return the next day.”
Actually, HelpAge International, the international NGO that deals with the needs of older people around the world, appears to have been on the ground helping the patients several days prior to the Post report. Although its office in Port-Au-Prince was badly damaged, HelpAge announced last Friday:
About 800,000 Haitians are over 60, and many of them live in extreme poverty even under normal circumstances. Old people tend to suffer disproportionately during disasters, and are less capable of fending for themselves in the aftermath. I suspect they also tend to be disproportionately overlooked by even the most well-meaning relief efforts.
HelpAge is a rare exception. Last week they entered into a partnership with the AARP Foundation to gain more support for their work. “HelpAge has on-the-ground experience in Haiti and is the only international relief agency that focuses on the unique needs of older people in an emergency,” said AARP CEO Barry Rand.
Born in 1936, James Ridgeway has been reporting on politics for more than 45 years. He is currently Senior Washington Correspondent for Mother Jones, and recently wrote a blog on the 2008 presidential election for the Guardian online. He previously served as Washington Correspondent for the Village Voice; wrote for Ramparts and The New Republic; and founded and edited two independent newsletters, Hard Times and The Elements.
Ridgeway is the author of 16 books, including The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11, It’s All for Sale: The Control of Global Resources, and Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads, and the Rise of a New White Culture. He co-directed a companion film to Blood in the Face and a second documentary film, Feed, and has co-produced web videos for GuardianFilms.
This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on January 26, 2010.
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