Natural disaster reminds us that man-made tragedy is worthless

As Nepal, India and Bangladesh begin the recovery of their nations after the magnitude 7.8 earthquakes on Saturday morning, every person on this planet has a very valuable lesson to learn. A country’s success should be measured by how we serve the needs of our neighbours. And it’s times like these that demonstrate just how great so many countries in the world really are.

Today it’s time for reflection. So far, over 3,200 people have been declared deceased in the quake – a number that Professor John Wilson from the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Swinburne University believes will keep rising. That’s a tragic loss of life and something that is totally out of our hands. So when will we learn that man-made tragedies need to stop? There’s so much out there, like the tragic natural disaster that will take lives for us. So it’s time that we learned the measure of a country’s greatness isn’t how we respond to terror threats, it’s how we serve our neighbours in times of need.

At the time of the earthquake there were thousands of foreigners visiting. At least 830 Australians have been confirmed safe in the country with a large number still unaccounted for. Thousands of United States and British citizens were also in the country at the time of the earthquake with several already, sadly, confirmed dead. The world has become such a multicultural place – there’s nowhere untouched by visitors and it’s something that we should all embrace. When everywhere is reachable via a short flight, it gives us a higher level of connection and every country no matter where in the world, really is our neighbour.

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The response has been incredible from so many countries. Within just 48 hours of the earthquake occurring, a number of developed countries have reached their hands out to the recovery process. Tony Abbott on Monday announced that Australia would be contributing $5 million in aid as a first response. Barack Obama announced that the United States would contribute US$1 million to the recovery. Britain has pledged $10 million and each country is also contributing a crisis response team that should reach Nepal within the next 24 hours.

While this is only the beginning of a response, it shows that when our neighbours are in need, we’re there for them. But you don’t see that highlighted in the media? We don’t watch the crisis response teams packing up for deployment. We don’t hear about the many people who are, as individuals, travelling to the disaster area just to volunteer in the clean up.

There’s so much good in this world, and sadly it comes out when there’s something horrible involved. But doesn’t this, right now, serve as a reminder that we should be valuing our neighbouring countries instead of fighting them? Doesn’t that tell us that we should stop giving the man-made tragedies airtime and instead focus on sharing the beautiful and compassionate humanitarian activity that comes to fruition at times like these.

Tell us, do you think we need to reconsider our values when it comes to peace, compassion, humanitarianism and war? Share your thoughts in the comments below…