Overseas priorities

Billionaires could fix the world’s problems if they cared enough

McKenna Dirks

More stories from McKenna Dirks

3rd and Vine
April 5, 2022

Photo by Can Stock Photo

The Notre-Dame Cathedral is on the global stage as donations sent to fix fire damage pour in.

On April 15, 2019, Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris caught fire, causing damage to areas being renovated.

The night the cathedral burned, over $1 billion was donated to Notre-Dame to rebuild what was damaged. Companies such as Apple and Disney pledged donations for the cause.

It’s wonderful seeing the people of the world coming together for a night to raise money to help rebuild Notre Dame, but there are other places which have been suffering on their own for years and haven’t received that kind of support.

Flint, Michigan, for instance, hasn’t had clean water since April 2014. During the construction of a new pipeline to deliver water from Lake Huron to Flint, the city turned to the Flint River as a water resource.

Shortly after the switch, residents of Flint began complaining about a funny look and taste of the water, only later to find there was an increased amount of toxic lead in the water.

The same day as the Notre-Dame fire, the state of Michigan announced it was giving  the city of Flint $77 million for water infrastructure improvements, according to the Flint Courier News.

The city of Flint lacked clean water for five years with no donations, but over $1 billion was raised overnight for Notre Dame. Something isn’t adding up.

Additionally, Puerto Rico is still suffering from Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in 2017. The economic cost of this hurricane was nearly $140 million in destruction with almost three thousand deaths recorded 11 months after the hurricane.

Residents of Puerto Rico went months without access to electricity, food or water.

President Donald Trump didn’t have much to say about the hurricane other than it being “the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water.”

Trump was seen throwing paper towel rolls to the people of Puerto Rico, but not accomplishing much else to help them. 

Three black churches in Louisiana burned down on March 26, April 2, and April 4, all within 10 days.

A GoFundMe raised $180,000 to put toward helping these churches, but again, Trump didn’t have much to say.

Trump tweeted his condolences to the people of Paris, but didn’t say a word about the black churches burned in his own country.

It’s safe to conclude that the U.S. government doesn’t have its priorities straight.

It’s devastating to see such an old cathedral with so much history catch fire, but what most people don’t know is that the majority of the church survived.

Many of the artifacts and statues were removed due to the process of renovation, and the famed stained glass windows are completely intact.

What didn’t survive the fire was the ceiling and roof. Yes, it’s devastating because the ceiling was built in the 13th century, but things happen to old buildings and life goes on.

There are many things in need of attention and support here, and the people of the United States, as well as the government, can step in any minute now to help Americans first.

Dirks can be reached at [email protected].