May 16, 2015

BW photograph of an idle train

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The recent Amtrak train derailment outside of Philadelphia that resulted in the loss of 8 lives and 200+ injured has brought the status of critical infrastructure in the United States into question, as discussed here and here.  The northeast corridor is the busiest in the U.S. as it services 5 of the top 26 most populous cities in the country: Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.  (That lists the cities geographically from north to south.  By population the list would be:  New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Baltimore.)

BW photograph of an idle train's truck springs

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

More will be revealed about the causes of the accident as evidence continues to be sought and evaluated and the private/public debate will play out in terms of responsibility and funding.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Nepal continues to be rattled by the extraordinary earthquakes that continue through the region.  Kunda Dixon was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday and reported here that “Six hundred thousand homes were destroyed…” The death toll now exceeds 8,000.  Nepal, a country of approximately 30 million people, has nowhere near the resources of the U.S. and therefore faces a long struggle for a return to normalcy.

Infrastructure and the allocation of resources play a part in both stories.  The United States, as the prototypical most-developed country, has a great deal more of both when compared to Nepal, an example of a least-developed country.  One of the issues for the United States is the manner in which resources are allocated and the railway system has long been an area for which there has been much debate.  It may well be that the infrastructure did indeed not play a role in the most recent accident.

The same cannot be said for Nepal.  The majority of the housing simply could not withstand the violence of the continuing earthquakes.  Now, as the monsoon season is set to begin, housing, food, water and the other most basic of resources will be increasingly needed. As before, please research and consider donating in order to provide assistance.

Condolences to all who are struggling to deal with all of these circumstances.

Take care.


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