Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Refugees and Recovery
The standoff in Libya continues, with the world's media following both the genuine plight of refugees and the bluster of Western nations as they attempt to apply pressure on Kahdaffi's beleaguered elites with words and threats.
The emerging refugee challenge at the border between Libya and Tunisia, along with stranded foreign workers around the country, primarily at oil facilities is real. The displacement of working families of modest means - those without the connections or money to flee in style or ahead of time - is nearly always the first humanitarian challenge, aside from fighting itself. On the Tunisia border, there is an estimated 40,000 individuals hoping to cross to relative safety, joining an estimated 75,000 already there. Tunisia, still attempting to stabilize its own situation, has called for help, and that too is probably real.
While the Libyan revolution has momentarily slowed into a tense stalemate, New Zealand begins the painful recovery from a serious earthquake. New Zealand is a prosperous nation of over 4 million, and set in relative isolation 1200 miles from Australia. Its mountainous and picturesque terrain - most notably filmed in "Lord of the Rings" - is a result of volcanic and tectonic plate movement along an active seismic line. That historical force roared to life last week, shaking the South Island, with over 160 deaths and widespread devastating property damage.