Disaster yet to reach media kill threshold

A NATURAL disaster that has killed hundreds, injured thousands, and made millions homeless, has yet to surpass the death threshold required to gain global media coverage.

The authorities responsible for co-ordinating rescue efforts have complained that the death toll from the disaster is still “far too small” to attract the sort of attention that might finance an international aid mission to the area.

Regional political representatives are now focusing their efforts on how to enhance the numbers killed to a level that will generate foreign media coverage and, therefore, save lives.

“Not enough people have died,” said one overstretched rescue worker.

“Unfortunately we do not live in the global media’s ‘high-visibility’ zone. This means that for a natural disaster in this low-vis region to gain coverage on the big TV channels and websites, more people need to die than would be the case in other regions.

“Generally speaking, a disaster around here needs to kill at least a four-figure – and ideally a six-figure – sum of people to get any attention.

“A few thousand miles to the west, however, a natural disaster need only register a double-digit death toll to get the sort of headlines that emergency workers like me dream of.”

Without global media coverage, not enough people’s hearts will be moved sufficiently to donate the money needed to reconstruct the disaster zone and rehouse those whose homes have been destroyed.

“It’s frustrating because ‘MILLIONS MADE HOMELESS’ is a far less sexy headline than ‘TENS OF THOUSANDS DIE HORRIBLY’,” lamented a government official.

“But that’s the reality of it, I’m afraid. Around here, disasters need to be bloody sexy.

“Sadly, on this occasion, we just haven’t quite edged past that lucrative death-toll threshold every person in my position craves for in the hours immediately following a tragic earthquake, flood, storm, tsunami, volcanic eruption and/or asteroid strike.”

Officials are said to be considering a number of options for boosting the death toll.

One possibility could be to topple over one of the damaged buildings as rescue workers are inside, with care taken to capture the moment on camera from several different angles and have a press release already prepared.

Another, less costly, option would be to simply add an extra zero to the official death toll and hope no-one notices the deception.

“Middle-range natural disasters such as these always present low-visibility regions of the world with a dilemma,” said a professor in disaster management.

“High-visibility regions never need devote any time whatsoever to the promotion or exaggeration of an avalanche or wildfire. The stories write themselves.

“Sometimes all you need to do is accidentally nudge a seismometer for a TV crew to come down to the scene.”

The rules for man-made disasters are different, however.

“Oh, the media loves a man-made disaster, wherever it takes place. Plane crash? Great. Trapped miners? Lovely job. Nuclear meltdown? Perfect.

“Man-made disasters, by their very non-nature nature, are more likely to have an international or global element to them, which renders the geography moot.

“Regardless of that, they always just make for great telly.”