There was a 7.8 magnitude earthquake Nov. 14 in New Zealand that left entire sections of the country completely isolated. There have been more than 2,000 earthquakes and aftershocks the week following the 7.8 earthquake. The earthquake lifted the sea floor two meters into the air, yet there has been little to no outrage on social media, and news sources in the United States have barely covered the subject.
New Zealand is at a halt. One of the most affected regions, Kaikoura, has become completely isolated, which is dangerous for New Zealand’s economy. Dairy exports make up almost a third of New Zealand’s annual merchandise exports.
Kaikoura currently has little access to water, which has made the more than 21 large dairy farms in the region dump out hundreds of thousands of liters of milk to irrigate their lands and feed calves.
New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, is shutting down slowly; its business center is almost desolate.
Homes have been evacuated all over the country. Some relief efforts have been initiated, but the continuous aftershocks have made it harder to get aid to where it needs to go.
Warships from Canada, Australia and the U.S. have been sent to New Zealand to help with cleanup efforts in Kaikoura and Waiau, the two most affected regions, yet there are no signs of this being important to the U.S.
It might not be a direct interest for the U.S. to intervene in something so far away, but if the U.S. is to pride itself in being the policeman of the world, it should do so in a way where self-interest is not the primary motivation.
When Japan suffered an earthquake in 2011, the U.S. scrambled to create social media filters, send aid and cover the catastrophe in great detail. There has been little response to the situation in New Zealand. President Obama never came out to say that the U.S. is ready to help New Zealand, as he did with Japan. There has also been no coverage on the natural disaster, coverage that leads to more aid efforts.
This might not be directly political, but the fact that the U.S. only seems to be outright distraught when an ally that it depends on economically is hanging by a thread says a lot about where its priorities are and how it manages international relations and aid.