Vulnerability of the Poor to Natural Disasters

Posted: January 22, 2015 in Malaysia
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Floods, landslides in Malaysia, from Peninsula to Borneo. Over 200,000 people were displaced, torn from their homes by raging nature.

Natural disasters leaving considerable impact on lives, land and livelihood. Whether federal or state governments, the institutions need to share data about natural disasters and poverty. Poorer communities are left marginalized in post-flood Malaysia, particularly rural populations. Repetitive floods, the incredible downpour from monsoon and the continued ignorance of policy makers, increase the vulnerability of the poor. As a result, communities are unable to break the cycle of poverty.

Its crucial for civil society and government agencies to collaborate with affected communities in order to reduce the socio-economic impact. Increased disaster risks due to climate change are also expected to stimulate poverty. Are we taking note of these issues and planning ahead for poverty-reduction and disaster preparedness? Or are we still pointing the finger, or shamelessly indulging with photo-ops when delivering conditional aid to those who have lost their homes, land and income?

Rural communities in Malaysia live in the plantations, fishing villages, farms, settlements and indigenous Orang Asli tribes. Obviously there is a lack of coordinated national effort in relief work, and much of the aid distribution comes from volunteers, among them Dapur Jalanan, which is remarkable but the question is why does it seem that the federal and state governments are unprepared for intervention, much less rebuilding initiatives?

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