It makes me sad that some people still don’t realise that there are disasters currently going on everyday in the world that are orders of magnitude greater in importance/death toll than the occasional “big” disaster that everyone is aware of and working to raise funds for.

A case in point: one of my housemates, upon seeing something on television encouraging people to raise funds for charities to deal with the AIDS disaster in Africa, asked “Do you think they’ll give some money to the Tsunami victims as well? There’s so many of them”.

My gut reaction was that she had things the wrong way round, so I looked it up. Although of course the Tsunami death toll of almost 300 000 is not negligible and these people need their wounds tending to, their dead burying, their countries rebuilding and their coastlines guarded against future killer waves, the fact that 2.3 million Sub-Saharan Africans died of AIDS in 2004 leads me to think that this is a larger scale disaster. Almost 5 people died of AIDS every minute in Africa. That has to matter, if we can continue to claim any concept of humanity.

How to keep the everyday tragedies on people’s agendas, I don’t know. Perhaps the big news providers should have an incremental update on the state of Africa every day, in the same way they did for the Iraq war. But I think people would probably just get desensitized and ignore it even more. Perhaps we must just accept that the only people who will care are the ones directly affected, except in the big bang disasters that get so much coverage.

Somehow, it still seems wrong, though.

UPDATE: Seems I’m not the only one that thinks so