Saturday, December 01, 2007

Fifteen More Days to Our Benefit for Northern Ghana friends from northern Ghana holding a drumming party for me in Accra....

In September, floods ravaged the Northern and Upper regions of Ghana as well as Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso opened up sluice gates to a dam built on the Volta River, further flooding the region. More than twenty people died and 300000 people were displaced as their homes were swept away. Nine or more bridges were lost and the roads all but dissolved under the rising waters. The Northern and Upper Regions of Ghana, areas which are drier than most parts of Ghana, received about half of it's annual rain fall in those few days of incessant and heavy rains. Cropped fields were swept away and people fled here and there to join already overcrowded families living in difficult situations. The aftermath of such floods include water born diseases such as dysentery and cholera which can spread so quickly among vulnerable societies, not to mention malaria of the drug resistant types which is already endemic in Ghana. Then there are the mental health and emotional concerns for those with so little who have lost everything, for up to 80 percent of the people in this area earn less than $1.00 a day.

It is several months since the disaster itself but responses and actions tend to be more hesistant and difficult to achieve in certain places, and even in the USA where Katrina spilled her waters a while ago, we saw the helplessness of the mighty USA. The thing about disaster is that, while it is so devastating, it gives the worldwide community a chance to embrace a certain part of the world, if only for a short time. And within this embrace, if it is done with the right spirit, is the culture of our communal worldwide healing as humanity.

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