Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Disaster Recovery: Responsibility of Neighbor

It is much easier during emergencies for many Good Samaritans to pop up from nowhere and support the people in distress, and often these Good Samaritans are some good neighbors. As the time passes and the recovery and reconstruction begins, I have noted some strange human behavior taking over the genuine humaneness of persons, a behavior that goes beyond the ethereal. I have heard of persons who have allowed their land to be used freely, in spite of their own land or person loss in the family, so that other families who have lost their land may have a place in which they can set up a temporary tent as long as the "refugee's" house comes up. This is one of the most sublime of all. But the other side is also true. When the person who has lost his house, now has got compensation from the government and some money to build the house needs land for constructing a house looks for land, even the cost of bad land (risky and vulnerable land) price has gone up. A friend was telling me on Monday, in some villages the cost of land has gone up so much so that people cannot afford to buy the land, or if they buy the land, they cannot build the house!

So, there is demand for more money by way of compensation or support! Where will this circle end? In most disaster places I have noticed that the price of land going down, and it is true that the price goes up during reconstruction, usually due to the additional money coming in by way of wages and new employment opportunity created. But, price of land going up through the roof....a plot costing 400,000 rupees on a barren hill, which would require land and soil treatment besides any construction can take place.... Well, that is legalized robbery of different kind. Unless human tendency to support, serve and love remain, the vulnerable will continue to look for the most vulnerable locations to live with vulnerabilities and risks.

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