OXFAMExchange Winter 2006

The Year of Disasters

It was a year of feeling vulnerable. The tsunami. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. An earthquake in Pakistan. A triple blow of hurricanes, landslides, and volcanic eruption for Central America. Conflict in Sudan. Food shortages in Ethiopia and West Africa. The fact of so many emergencies does not diminish the magnitude of any one of them.

It was also a year in which the global community could no longer ignore poverty. The planet's poorest citizens—here in the US and around the world—suffered the most. When a storm hits, impoverished communities are the last to receive aid. When an earthquake strikes, they are the least prepared to withstand it. And when conflict is waged, they have the fewest resources with which to recover. According to the Red Cross, seven times as many people die per disaster in a poor country as in a rich one.

Throughout 2005, the Oxfam community responded—knowing that, as crises mount, our responsibility to act is heightened. For this, we thank you.

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