5 April 2013 - WORLD POVERTY


G'day guys,
Some of you might ignore this post because you probably think, 'Clancy is bashing on again about the great unwashed in the world.' Yep, ya right. 

Now, take a deep breath, sit back and take in some hard facts. Ready?

Every year, 8 million people die because they’re too poor to stay alive. Poverty drives 12-year-old children to become child soldiers. It fuels the AIDS epidemic in Africa. It forces girls as young as 10 to become child prostitutes and millions of other children to work instead of attending school. Poverty devastates families, communities and nations. It causes instability and political unrest. It fuels conflicts.

     Half the world lives on less than $2 a day
  • 30,000 children die every day due to poverty
  • 2 billion have no access to electricity
  • 20% of people in the highest-income countries consume 86% of the world’s resources. The poorest 20% account for a minuscule 1.3%
  Nearly a billion people cannot read or sign their names. Two thirds of them are women. Educated women are less likely to be oppressed or exploited and more likely to participate in political processes. They have smaller families and healthier and better-educated children. Education improves the lives of the most vulnerable, marginalized and deprived. Children who attend school learn the knowledge, skills and values needed to sustain peaceful societies.

  • 115 million school-aged children are not in school
  • 133 million young people cannot read or write
  • More boys than girls enrol in school
More girls than boys drop out of school before the age of ten.

 The world’s water supply is a scarce commodity. Right now, more than one billion people lack access to safe drinking water. Nearly 2.5 billion do not have proper sanitation facilities. Water-related diseases are the leading cause of death, killing more than 14,000 people each day and causing more than 80% of all illness. Growing demands from industry, agriculture and people are making water even more precious - the oil of the 21st century. 

  • Every 8 seconds a child dies from a water related disease
  • 90% of waste water in developing countries discharges untreated into rivers and streams
  • Half the world’s hospital beds are occupied by people suffering from water-borne diseases
  • Disease and death related to polluted coastal waters costs the global economy US $16 billion a year

Every day, 800 million go hungry. One in seven people do not get enough food to lead a healthy active life. Hunger and malnutrition is the number one risk to health worldwide -- greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Even in the United States, 36 million people, including 13 million children, live in households where people skip meals or eat less to make ends meet. 

  • 790 million people in the developing world are chronically undernourished
  • 41 % of malnourished children live in conflict-torn regions
  • 16 % of infants in developing countries suffer from acute malnutrition
  • 150 million children worldwide are underweight

Men and women everywhere have the right to be governed by their own consent, under law, without discrimination based on gender, sexuality, religion, age, ability, ethnic background, nationality, class or other factors. They must also be free from want. We will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights.

  • Over a million children are trafficked annually for sexual exploitation and labour
  • Ten million die every year of preventable diseases – that’s almost 30,000 a day
  • 600,000 women die every year in pregnancy and childbirth
  • 2 billion lack access to toilets
 Threats to peace and security include not just international war and conflict but civil violence, organized crime, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Poverty, deadly infectious disease and environmental degradation can have equally catastrophic consequences. Ending wars is not enough; building peace is essential to ensure a more just, more secure world.

  • 12% of children in conflict regions do not reach their first birthday
  • Sexual violence is frequently used as a weapon of war
  • Land mines kill and mutilate up to 10,000 children a year
  • HIV/AIDS is rampant in war-affected countries
  • 300,000 child soldiers are fighting in more than 36 conflicts worldwide
Clancy's comment: So, what do we do about all this hardship? Well, what I find difficult to believe is that the 'richer' countries can't even solve the poverty and health issues in their own countries. 

Now, before I go into a tirade of discontent, let me say this. It must have been five years ago, during our biggest drought, when I rang our national broadcaster, the ABC - nothing unusual for me to ring talk-back programs. What did I say? Well, having heard heaps about farmers shooting their starving cattle and doing it tough, I offered a suggestion. 

Sitting in my dry-store are countless items of food: spaghetti, beans, soups etc.  My idea was that every Australian offer four substantial items of food to be collected and distributed to those in need - FREE! Sad to say, my suggestion was praised, but that is all. So, I virtually emptied my dry-store and rang a courier, having already rung some farmer mates who told me about folks who were doing it tough. The courier company were fantastic. They offered to deliver my goods for free.  

That Christmas, I received four Christmas cards from folks I'd never met - farmers. 

As I mentioned above, our worst drought ever lasted something like 15 years. Sure, Australia knows all about droughts, floods and bushfires. Right now, as I write this, we are experiencing all of those disasters - and more ... at the one time. A bushfire, 'out of control', is 25 kilometres from my home and the northern states of Queensland and New South Wales are being inundated with flood waters. 

However, Australians are a tough breed of people. When Cyclone Tracy destroyed Darwin, the bombings took place in Bali or we suffered the Black Saturday bushfires, Australians (22.5 million of them) dug deep and raised extraordinary amounts of money to help those in need.

Having said that, you may say, 'What a marvellous country.' Yep, ya right, but it was a marvellous place before we whites arrived. But, Australia is no different to the UK, USA and many other countries that are considered 'lucky'. That is, they are not third-world or emerging countries. 

I guess the biggest problems I have are as follows:

1. Countries like mine still have homeless people, as do other 'lucky' countries.

2. How come preventable diseases still  kill people?

3. How come running water, one of the three major necessities of life, is still not available to millions of people?

4.   Why are kids suffering extraordinarily at the hands of crazy people?

 And so my questions could continue. But, in my mind, the simple answer is for ordinary people to rise up and ring the paid politicians and email them until they feel so boxed in a corner they have to do something. I know, I've said it before on this blog, 'you need numbers to fix major problems'. Yep, let's be blunt, we need leadership too. How do we find that in today's world? Well, I reckon we pester the politicians until they do something. YOU must do something too. Get involved, even in a small way.

I don't have all the answers, but I do have great empathy for the kids who suffer. The whole issue is larger than life, but I'm sure we can make a difference. 

All of these issues can be overwhelming. I know. Ya right. I've been involved in this stuff for decades. However, every little bit counts.

Who knows? Due to your actions, some kid, somewhere, might actually have a feed ... and think someone actually cares. Good start, eh?

Now, check out these short videos in case you still have some doubts ... or don't care:





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