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Preparedness and awareness needed

May 02,2015 - Last updated at May 02,2015

The powerful earthquake that hit Nepal a few days ago caught the country, and the international community, which hurried to send disaster relief to the stricken nation, off guard.

More than 6,000 people died in the catastrophe, and countless were injured or remain unaccounted for.

The Nepalese were left for days on their own, with little aid, food, water or medicine filtering slowly into their communities.

No matter how much countries prepare themselves, the wrath of nature, manifested through earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, tornadoes, or even fires or floods, is difficult to counter and put up with.

Yet, much of human activity is such that it provokes many of these calamities.

Deforestation and burning fossil fuel are the biggest two culprits. And even though the signs are many, and scientists warn against the terrible fallout of global warming, many nations carry out their damaging activities blissfully, refusing to acknowledge that a catastrophe anywhere on the globe will have its consequences on all.

It is important to have the international community prepared to face disasters when they occur, for, there is hardly a nation that is immune from natural disasters.

But it is equally important to be aware of how our activities impact nature.

Jordan, for example, is one of the countries situated on the great Jordan Valley Rift. While the country can do little to prevent an earthquake from happening, it can do quite a lot by observing strict building codes and organising periodic evacuation drills.

Nepal’s case showed how aid was slow to come and even failed to reach remote areas of the country.

Better preparedness is necessary.

Natural disasters must elicit the concern of the entire world, and not only of nations where they could happen.

Aid and support to countries affected by natural disasters must not be regarded as a favour, but rather as an obligation.

An international fund could be created for the purpose, well structured and organised, and administered from several key countries.

Most importantly, to prevent tragedies that can be avoided, we must refrain from damaging activities, aware that we only have this planet to sustain us and that we should preserve it for future life, not run after short-term selfish interests.

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