A national crisis brought about by famine and another catastrophe usually assails individuals, families, and groups in the community affected. More often than not, calamitous occurrence triggers a chain of events that usually affect other communities and other territories in several ways.
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Though efforts should be taken at the state level with maximum involvement of local resources, most of the time, a disaster for a small nation affects a widespread level. International cooperation is intentionally sought to extend help to a poor nation particularly in wide-scale emergencies. Such efforts are considered an emergency relief for a poor nation to overcome a wrath encountered. Most international programs are aimed for the management of problems in health, environment, economic development, education and protection of cultural heritage. The objective of the international program is to improve living standards of the affected population.
In the resolution of cataclysmic problems encountered by poor nations, the United Nations plays an important coordinating role in the strengthening of international cooperation. The UN acknowledges the difficulties faced by an affected country and appeals to the donor countries and other UN agencies and non-governmental organizations for assistance and continuity of support for the rehabilitation of the affected region. Somehow, the allocation of additional funds goes a long way to support medical, social, economic programs. Some projects are implemented at the local, national and even international levels and widely set to satisfy the health needs, environmental problems, economic development, education and cultural heritage preservation. Such programs are implemented under a humanitarian spirit and solidarity among nations.
The United Nations according to the Red Cross and other foreign aid officials undertake actions such as stockpiling of food, water, and shelter and establishing medical teams to deal with victims of chemical and biological attacks. The UN officials usually apprised the international committee about the scale of damage and the scope of relief operations needed for rehabilitation. CARE International is a popular non-government organization committed to alleviating conditions that could mobilize aid during any humanitarian crisis. Other fraternal societies thrived and even dwarfed organized charity and governmental poor relief bureaucracies for the provision of welfare others according to Benito. Rich countries according to Singer like Britain, Australia, and the US could greatly afford to offer assistance to other countries similarly experiencing the problems encountered in Bengal. For him, the moral implications of providing help where it is greatly needed will mean more lives saved. Further, Singer believed that affluent nations should not take for granted the problems within our midst.
In the order of human needs, food, however, is a basic human need necessary for survival. The singer has provided that most sufferings are brought about by the deprivation or the lack of food, shelter and medical care that has resulted in deaths. Poor nations, when faced with natural disasters, are the first to experience the full impact of a catastrophe as national relief funds are meager or could not be released for an affected populace due to an internal bureaucracy or corruption. No government of a third world country according to Singer could give a massive aid to support refugees for more than a few days. We can cite a litany of calamities but nonetheless the most critical scenario is food shortage that would contribute to other resultant factors.
Should responsibilities lie with the government or with private organizations? Brooks tell us that the government advocates redistribution of money in the name of social justice to alleviate human conditions. It is obligatory to redistribute tax revenues yet it is not necessarily charitable in nature. Sherman provided that the federal welfare law passed in 1996 reshaped America's government welfare system with the ultimate goal of transforming broken lives and renewing distressed communities. The government has the responsibility to work for justice through their sphere of influence which in turn will require other organizations to direct an outreach program. This is a necessary task for the government in view of a positive transformation of the lives of the needy people facing cataclysmic problems.
Private religious organizations in the meanwhile have faced the sober reality that the needs of the poor exceed the capacities of the faith in the community as stressed in Sherman. It is a challenging work for an organization, community or voluntary association to direct their own outreach activity without substantial support from a larger body because the design calls for an effective system involving a large number of volunteers who can walk alongside poor people as they take steps to escape their poverty according to Sherman. Other well-intentioned aid and support for the needy have been misrouted in the past, as private organizations do not necessarily have the full potential skill to do the work themselves. They need to create a partnership with the government who can administer effectively any development initiatives to address the problem according to Sherman.
No matter what angle we decide to take against a calamity experienced by a poor nation, the idea of suffering experienced by others should be too much to bear while rich nations languish in wealth. I take Singer's opinion that if it is within our power to help or even prevent something bad from happening, we ought to do it. We cannot use the defense that distance prevents us from extending help. Globalization has brought every nation right in our doorstep such that help can easily be extended in more ways than one can consider according to Loescher, 1993. Aid can even be sent out by organizations stationed at famine-prone areas that Singer justified that there is no possible justification for withholding help due to geography. Logically, when people begin to realize the need to extend help to those in need, one does not have to give a huge amount as a donation or aid. The little amount that one contributes would be more than necessary when others would be willing to give their share and participate in a worldwide effort to alleviate suffering. These acts of charity go a long way in preventing more suffering brought about by a calamitous event according to Loescher.
Differentiating duty from charity brings to mind a traditional distinction. Charity is considered as a voluntary act of giving something without expecting anything in return. It sees a person's generosity in sharing one's excesses to prevent another person from starving. Some people feel a sense of fulfillment after extending donations to save a few from destitution and suffering. This is so because the state of affluence and wealth according to Singer and poverty has a wide chasm that giving aid for a poor nation in dire need cannot divest a fraction of a rich person's reserves. The benevolence of mankind to alleviate the suffering of others in need is a manifestation of love and compassion that goes beyond the call of duty and obligation. A righteous person may fulfill his duty to contribute to disaster relief whether agreeable to him or not as a moral obligation but a charitable person goes beyond his capacity for the welfare of others. Conventional wisdom suggests our moral duties to the needy but charity are voluntary acts that do not necessary comply with the moral codes of the society.
The government is, therefore, duty-bound to help the poor nations from a catastrophic incident as a moral attitude towards society and the global community. While it persists its stance against violations of norms particularly in criminal acts outside its jurisdiction, it has likewise a similar obligation to uphold an end to widespread starvation and promote the well-being of other suffering nations. The government has a duty above all to direct relief efforts rather than channeling their responsibility to charitable organizations. Despite the willingness of people to contribute and private organization of efforts to help in the relief of poverty, government assistance is favored for victims of natural disasters according to Viscusi and Zeckhauser.
The general idea for poverty alleviation is an international cooperation between nations to address its efforts directly to the poor nation in dire need of support. There is, however, an important link between governments and voluntary civic organizations to develop a partnership and work hand in hand in a crisis situation. It is understood that one cannot work without the other but the government is duty-bound to extend its efforts and to develop programs to alert other organizations to work for a common cause. Likewise, it is an international responsibility to uphold security and peace for everyone. Conflicts which arise deteriorate national development that could later promote poverty and starvation. These key indicators should be considered by governments of rich nations in order to prevent conflict of poor nations. This should stand as an effective policy against man-made catastrophes.
In natural calamities, the existence of charitable organizations and voluntary donations offered by ordinary people are accordingly given based on their sentiments and compassion towards people in need. They are however not duty-bound and should not be compelled to direct whatever they can dole out for the good of others. Brooks, however, has provided that religious people are generous in giving their money for charity.
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