Friday, January 15, 2010

Try to get a bit of perspective

'Bottlenecks and infrastructure damage have been holding up aid efforts in Haiti, where Tuesday's earthquake has left as many as 45,000-50,000 dead.

There is little sign of humanitarian supplies beyond the Port-au-Prince airport, and correspondents say there is increasing anger among survivors.'

It may just be my imagination, but it seems that this meme 'why is the response to X disaster so crap and so slow?' is now the standard one. This, despite the fact that there has never in human history been anything like the 2010 infrastructure for global disaster relief.

What we saw in 2005 with the Indonesian tsunami was an amazing and glorious response from across the world to try to ameliorate the terrible impact. It was successful, and hundreds of thousands of people in Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka could testify to that. I am sure that the 2010 operations in Haiti will be just as successful.

So why is the BBC already criticising the efforts being made?

Just once, I would like the BBC to run an international disaster response. From my knowledge of how efficiently the BBC is run, it would be a secondary catastrophe. But it might intrude a little humility and much-needed realism into the BBC's useless reporting.

And a message to the Haitians: where were you and your aircraft carriers/hospital ships/helicopters/heavy transport aircraft/vast quantities of food/vast quantities of clothing/vast quantities of medicine during the Pakistani earthquake, Hurricane Katrina or Indonesian tsunami?

Out of the 192 nations on this planet, there are about ten which consistently spend millions and billions helping people in other countries- feeding them, digging them out of their collapsed buildings and healing their wounded and sick. Haiti isn't one of them. Neither is China. Neither is Japan. Neither is Saudi Arabia. It certainly isn't all the rich countries. Nope, just the ones with consciences and Christian values.

So before you get on your high horses, and start bitching and moaning, think for a moment about how fortunate you are that ANYBODY is coming to help you at all. Because if America, Britain, Canada, France, Germany and Australia didn't exist, you would all die.


'THIS DOESN’T SEEM VERY BRIGHT: “Angry Haitians set up roadblocks with corpses in Port-au-Prince to protest at the delay in emergency aid reaching them after a devastating earthquake, an eyewitness said,” Protesting delays, with roadblocks? That’s like protesting fire with gasoline. But, you know, as with Katrina, getting aid into a disaster-devastated region where ports, roads and airports are in poor condition isn’t something that happens overnight. But perhaps it’s a sign of progress in the modern world, when even Haitians expect disaster aid to be like pizza from Domino’s or something.'

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