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March 3, 2011

China Accepts Aide, Not International Aide Workers, Yet

An earthquake hit Sichuan Province in China Monday. Over 12,000 people are reported dead and 26,206 injured. There are still many more people buried underneath the rumble and 3.5 million are reported to be homeless. This is a major disaster, and once again, the world needs to react and they are.

I do not understand this acceptance of aide, but not aide workers from other countries. There is nothing that can soothe the pain of a disaster better than human hands working to frantically pull people from beneath the rumble alive. It is much worst to pull out limp bodies that could have been saved because you don’t have enough people digging. I know that China is well stocked with people and their military is capable, but really, can you be capable enough in these types of situations?

China is a place that has experienced great growth and advances in the past two decades. I have been reading about cities the size of Manhattan New York popping up every couple of months in China. China is a world power, we all know that, so why the refusal to accept aide workers from other countries right now?

As the story of China and Myanmar develop I find that I am trying to be a little more diplomatic about the way that I view these situations. My first reaction is to be appalled by the fact that governments are not willing to throw all caution to the wind and allow help from wherever to come in. Of course, when I put my emotions aside, I do realize that you must be careful about who comes and goes, even when there is a natural disaster. Countries that have experienced invasions and turmoil in the recent past are being cautious. They don’t want to lose whatever they have accomplished.

However, at times power can make a government much less feeling. It is difficult to be in a position of power that requires you to make tough choices like when it is appropriate to let aide workers into the country. You have to carefully balance the risks and benefits and once you come to an understanding about those things, there is not really a right or wrong decision.

I am not a government official and this is why. If I were in charge, I think I would have to take a chance and let every able, trained body that wanted to come and save my people come in and do their best. Aftershocks have rocked Sichuan Province and continued to strike fear into already terrified residents. There is a school with 900 children trapped beneath the rubble. Thousands of people are trapped below the crumbled cities and the amount of time they will be able to live is short. The main thing is reducing the amount of casualties that occur now that the quake is over. That would be where my energies would be focused, not keeping foreigners out of the country. I guess that is why I am not a politician.

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