I have written many words in the past two years. I have made my life a public pastime for your boredom, and in fact I have shared many personal moments in my life with you people; my relationships, my hardships, my laughter and my triumphs. So if you found it all so amusing, and awaited more of it, here’s a bit more. The problem is that most of you will not give a damn. It’s saddening that I get personal kudos by the dozen for posting pictures with hot girls, but not a word when I break the news that people are suffering somewhere not too far away.
Sometimes ago, someone mentioned that my readers don’t want to read about disasters and catastrophes because they want to read about beautiful places and to see exotic pictures. That they don’t want to think about hardships of others when they already have problems of their own. Maybe he was right. Maybe what I’m doing should be just a joy ride to fulfill just that. But I can’t. So I beg again. And I won’t stop.
Many set out to change the world, with their mosquito nettings, Ipads and hand sanitizers to arrive at an NGO in a strange country to do what they think is right. After a while they give up and head back home with a camera full of pictures to show to their friends, and although deep down they resent what the outcome, they justify it because that’s the way it is; living with guilt is not easy.
We need help, pure and simple. And by help I don’t mean prayers. So instead of sending me your non-perishable prayers, send food, medication and emergency shelters. Although my heart goes out to victims of the recent tsunami in Japan, I am NOT in Japan. I’m tired of Kansas City shuffles. I’m tired of humanitarian organizations and governments shifting their focus and resources once every hour to some other place that’s more news worthy. When an earthquake hits a place, nobody ever mentions Darfur anymore. No one cares about India anymore, and certainly no news organization will ever cover a “not so news worthy” disaster concerning bunch of brown people when a bigger and better one is brewing somewhere else.
This is not a one man job, but I’m pulling the rope one handed. Give me a hand. Whatever you can. If you’re good at cold-calling so call the damn corporations and get the money. If you’re good at selling lemonades, sell the lemonade. If you’re good at drinking $5 cups of latté all day, spare a cup and help these people. It won’t change your lifestyle, you won’t go broke, and I promise you that you’ll feel better at the end of the day. The following is my address to our board of directors, take a minute and give what you can. I’m begging you.
La Niña Flood Disaster Relief Assessment And Actions
By Chris Sorbi, On-site Ambassador
NATURE OF THE EMERGENCY:
Torrential rains heightened by the effects of la Niña weather phenomenon have flooded seven out of nine departments in Bolivia. The most affected regions are in the Amazon basin, to the Northeast where multitudes of Amazonian tributaries cross these plains. The rains have flooded several major rivers such as the Beni, Chirnore, and 14 de Semptiembre. Due to the unique geographical location of Bolivia, all the water from the Andes highlands will continue to flood this area well after the end of the weather pattern. It is my strong prediction that the scale of the damage, and loss of lives will increase as the waters inevitably continue to flood these lowlands.
The major complication has been the loss of crops with over 25,000 acres of growing-lands being under water in these regions amongst severe damages to houses, roads and basic infrastructures. The affected families rely heavily on their crops, and the floods not only have destroyed their source of food and income; it has destroyed the food reserve of the region as well.
According to the official reports, over 60 people have lost their lives, and several hundreds have been injured. These statistics are underestimations at best, as most of the disaster area is inaccessible by roads, and the predominant population consists of indigenous tribes of Yuracares and Yuquis. The Bolivian civil Defense has catered to number of families since the end of February, but they have reportedly exhausted their resources and are unable to provide further assistance.
Beside basic food and clean water needs, we require immediate assistance to obtain temporary shelters. Schools have been used in the area to accommodate the refugees, but the number of refugee has increased dramatically, hence the need for improvised shelters in the area.
Staple foods to be delivered are flour, corn, rice, beans and vegetable oil. Transportation of live stock or meat to the area is next to impossible due to difficulty of crossing flooded plains, and lack of refrigeration. Priority in food distribution will be given to children, women and the elderly. Drinking water will be collected from rain, and by treatment of existing sources to simplify the operation and cut cost on transportation.
The need for volunteers to work and distribute the food is great, so a public announcement for immediate help is suggested. I’m in process of recruiting volunteers among foreign travelers in the area, but help from the United States and abroad is required. Professional volunteers are needed with experiences in the medical field as well as constructions.
The food prices have increased radically in Bolivia so finding outside sources to truck-in the food into the region is imperative. I have requested the cooperation of the Bolivian government, and have been promised of logistical assistance on this matter. Furthermore, I have requested military and police support to secure the convoy through the region, and unrestricted passage through borders from the south. We will collaborate our efforts with the existing NGO’s and other international organizations in the field for the best possible results.
The work will be done on volunteer basis as always with no salaries to be paid. The operational cost will include the supplies, and transportation of the good into the region.
Average food prices are as follow:
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Immediate donations and sponsorships are essential to tackle this calamity, so I urge all the directors of the Transcontinental Humanitarian Corp. to use all the possible resources including public assistance, churches, schools, … to procure the necessary funds.
O. Christopher Sorbi, Founder and CEO
March 8, 2011