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Introducing Focus on the Aftermath

The following is an editorial statement by Alan Tauber, founder of Focus on the Aftermath, submitted exclusively to politicalcontext.org. Focus on the Aftermath is an organization dedicated to making sure that the victims of disaster, both natural and man-made, are not forgotten merely because a new crisis has arisen.

As I write this, the front page of CNN is focused on coverage of Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Irene’s battering of the east coast of the United States and on-going coverage of the revolution taking place in Libya.  Both of these are obviously important breaking stories and deserve coverage.

But also of note this month is the on-going cholera outbreak in Haiti, which is still suffering from the aftereffects of the earthquake that struck in January 2010.  Over 420,000 people are infected with nearly 6,000 dead by last count.  600 new cases are reported every day. Efforts to control the spread are hampered by the fact that after 100 days in office, newly elected President Michel Martelly still hasn’t appointed a prime minister, leaving Haiti without a government.  Less than half the money donated or pledged for relief has actually been doled out.

Also in the news, Japan’s damaged nuclear plants have released more radiation that 168 Hiroshima-sized bombs, or about one sixth of what was released at Chernobyl.  Tens of thousands remain in shelters far from their homes.  They have lost everything.  But we rarely hear about them.

The stories go on. Unfortunately, in our world of 24-hour non-stop news and the desire to scoop the competition, coverage of on-going crises tends to give way to the breaking story.  This is an understandable business model, but it leaves those who desperately need help with no place to turn.  While some outlets continue to provide sporadic coverage, detailed, in-depth looks at these crises is lacking.  That is why I founded Focus on the Aftermath.

Focus on the Aftermath is a nonprofit corporation registered in Washington State. Our goal is to help keep the spotlight on the aftermath of crises, long after media attention has moved on to something else.

We intend to produce yearly reports on the recovery efforts in locations such as Haiti, Japan, Joplin, Missouri, the Sudan and the Gulf Coast.  We will work with media outlets and other charities to help keep the focus on the ongoing events in these devastated regions.  Eventually, we’d like to fund documentaries on recovery efforts.

Every month, we spotlight a charity that continues to work in these areas.  And we plan to give out yearly awards for the best ongoing media coverage, both short form and long form, in print and visual media.  You can check out our website at http://focusontheaftermath.org/, like us on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/FocusontheAftermath or follow us on Twitter (@FotAftermath). Donations are always welcome – even $5 helps – but right now, we need to spread the word more than anything.

At Focus on the Aftermath, our motto is “So that none may be forgotten.”  With your help, we can ensure that those continuing to suffer in the wake of crises aren’t.

Thank you,

Alan Tauber
Executive Director
Focus on the Aftermath

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