A UN official who visited the U.S. recently to inspect the living conditions in different states of the country, was shocked to discover Alabama in the worst state of poverty he had ever witnessed in any first world country.
U.S. State Faces Some of the Worst Economic Conditions in the Western World
Philip Alston is part of the UN investigation team and his job requires him to travel to different countries around the world and observe the living conditions in areas of extreme poverty. He recently visited the rural communities of Alabama during his two-week tour around the U.S. to investigate the economic disparities and human rights abuse in different regions of the country.
During his tour, Alston and his team reported that Alabama had some of the most extreme cases of poverty they had ever seen in a developed country. In his comments on AL.com, Alston said that he had witnessed depressing scenes of poor sewage disposal in some of the rural communities of Alabama’s Black Belt which were creating a serious health crisis in the area. The Black Belt of Alabama, which has a long history of slavery, acquired its unique name due to its dark, rich soil, but it was later given a different meaning due to initiation of slave plantations.
Today, the economic disparity between Alabama and other states is a remnant of the region’s long-standing history of racial discrimination. So far, the UN investigation team has traveled around cities of California and Alabama and is yet to visit other states including Washington D.C and West Virginia. Despite President Donald Trump’s rhetoric that America is the best country on the planet, investigators disagree. From what Alston and his team have observed so far, living conditions in the United States are much worse than any other first world country in many ways.
Alabama in the Middle of a Serious Health Crisis
During the tour, the investigators reported serious neglect by the authorities in some of the least developed regions of Alabama where people had no electricity or access to clean water. Moreover, most communities were stricken with contagious diseases like E. Coli and Hookworm which, until now, had only been seen in countries of extreme poverty in South Asia and Africa.
These diseases associated with poor living conditions were thought to have been eradicated from the U.S more than a century ago but the recent report has opened everyone’s eyes to the reality that some regions of the country are fighting the same battle as they were 100 years ago. Residents of Montgomery, the state capital of Alabama, have reportedly built their own sewage pipes using PVP piping since they do not have enough financial resources to afford a proper septic system.
This is extremely dangerous according to experts who say that since these sewer lines go through people’s homes and empty the waste into the ditches, when rainy season comes, the flooding causes the waste to spread in the entire region leading to infections and contagious diseases like hookworm which affects more than 700 million people worldwide.
Civil Rights Abuse due to Racial Discrimination
Besides the health and economic crisis in Alabama, the residents also report incidents of civil rights abuse due to racial discrimination. The UN is concerned about the human rights violation in states like Alabama where police shooting incidents victimizing unarmed black men is quite common.
Politicians are turning a blind eye on the seriousness of the situation and if it hadn’t been for the efforts of the UN investigation team, the poverty and inequality in some regions of U.S. would have gone unnoticed. Alston believes that, at the root of Untied State’s systematic poverty are poor economic decisions of the government such as the new tax bill which will only create a greater federal deficit in the future.