Whenever a natural disaster occurs, the media are quick to release stories of looting, rioting, and all other forms of lawless behaviour. Rarely do we hear about the kindness and sense of community that these disasters inspire. In the last two decades alone we have seen earthquakes devastate countries such as China, Japan and Haiti. Homes, and even entire communities, have been swept away by tsunamis and floods in India, Nepal and Bangladesh; these are just a handful of examples from a very long list.
When disasters like these happen, we are bombarded by the media with doom and gloom. Heartbreaking stories of people losing loved ones and homes being reduced to rubble. These stories are often made worse when we hear about the aftermath of these events; people fighting amongst themselves for food and shelter, taking what little others have in order to survive. The reality of these situations however, is not nearly as bleak as we are led to believe.
Entire communities are born out of these disasters, with the intention of helping and saving others. People set out on search and rescue missions, others build kitchens and relief sites to support survivors. Everybody works together, nobody is left behind. Human instinct in response such horrific disasters is almost always to offer help, with the majority of people remaining calm and organised and offering support in any way they can.
So why does the media always seem to want us to believe the opposite? The sad truth is that disaster creates intrigue. When the media tell us everything is going wrong and so many are suffering, audiences are more likely to tune in. They magnify the more upsetting stories, while ignoring the heart warming, inspiring ones. When the focus is centred around the damage and destruction being caused, it is easy to lose sight of any hope.
When humans work together, incredible things happen. We can build shelters and support centers in a matter of days or even hours. We provide food, water and any other necessities to anybody in need. People will put their own lives at risk in order to save the life of another. If we can look past the horrors that the media would have us believe. It’s not difficult to see that our greatest strength is in our willingness to help, not just our own loved ones, but anyone who may need it.