Disaster Capitalism leads to Disaster Exploitation. The former has been explained and used as a framework in our understanding of the Zamboanga Crisis. The latter is an abusive action of the more powerful against the less powerful in times of disaster, taking advantage of the powerlessness of the survivors in the middle of a shock or trauma. Disaster Capitalism and Disaster Exploitation are the two sides of the same coin.
The people of Aklan were hit by a super-typhoon in 2003 but what they shared to us most was the feeling of being left alone and the feeling of being used.“We were badly hit by Typhoon Frank before. A government agency and some organizations came to ask for data. They promised to come back to help us. They never did. No one took notice of us.”
This was a story shared by almost all people that the team met. Currently, they are facing the effects of another super-typhoon and the scenario is familiar to them.
“Are we being used to raised funds?” a survivor asked.
Many of them felt unnoticed. Many of them tell of their experiences of relief goods that have not reached them. Several were discriminated because they supported another politician in the last election. Some have whispered not to course the relief goods through the local government units.
These were also the stories we have heard in the previous disasters such as Typhoon Washi in 2011 and Typhoon Bopha in 2012. Across the country, the stories of disaster exploitation were the same. There were moments I felt discouraged. It seemed that what we have been doing was making an unnoticeable dent in the reality of the world.
But the declaration of Jesus Christ boosted me up. “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me (Jesus), because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners.” (Luke 4:18)
Praise God for that! The work is finished. Disaster exploitation is not the last word in this age of climate change and calamities. We are only being asked to be obedient to God’s calling –to love our neighbor as ourselves. The end is known – Jesus Christ is coming back and the cosmos is made perfect. The final word is Hope!