Our Response (The World’s Response) to the Disaster in Haiti

Many are now viewing the disaster in Haiti as a case-study in world responses to world emergencies. In my view, there remain many elements of the current response that are questionable, not for “heart”, but for “head”.

We have a choice between two modes of response. We can respond to events, or we can respond to warnings. TO EVENTS: wait until something cataclysmic happens, and then put together an almost impromptu response, as we now see it taking place in Haiti. Under such a regime, many will die trapped in the rubble waiting for help to arrive. In the meantime, gangs of machete-wielding thugs will terrorize the already terrorized innocents to rob and plunder for themselves scarce food and water. That should not be our preferred response.

TO WARNINGS: There is much that can be anticipated in all parts of the Earth, its fault lines, its weather patterns, its volcanic activities, and the many threats caused by life, extinctions, viruses, etc. Given more time in this case, Earth’s humanity can organize humanitarian services. These should probably be organized under United Nations command, in the following way.

  • A list of every potential disaster that can be known about our globe.
  • Disaster-specific materiel listed for each potential disaster and for each geographical location and for each population culture and climate.
  • Each nation-member of the U.N. should choose to be matched to one of the specific functions of disaster relief, its response requirements, and that nation’s capacity for making a contribution to the response requirements.
  • Each nation must provide a staging area and base in its territory, a convenient camp, or compound where all the required materiel is stored.
  • Each nation provides an “army” of volunteers to be trained in the specific role of its disaster-specific response duties. This is similar to the community volunteer fire department and fire fighters who have a base of operations in a fire station to go when they get the call in an emergency.
  • Each nation is required to provide funds for equipment, training, and housing for its world disaster duties.
  • Mobilization-response time must be graded and certified.
  • Nation-to-nation cooperation and logistical patterns must be worked out through a U.N. agency.
  • Every potential disaster site should be studied for the status of its disaster-specific architecture, in order to educate expectancies for the response-teams in all nations, and for mandating disaster-adapted architecture.
  • Some of the specific teams like these are the relief services to be donated and performed. Several nations may cooperate to provide the same coordinated service.
    1. hazmat service
    2. construction service
    3. clothing service
    4. food
    5. shelter, housing
    6. medical
    7. graves registration
    8. water
    9. other utilities
    10. security
    11. transport
    12. communications
    13. airport
    14. roadways
    15. Do you suppose it would be possible for each of the 18,443 cities in the United States to donate and ship one house-trailer to Haiti? As a further contribution to fixing the obvious plight the Haitians now find themselves having to live with? Each trailer home would be identified with a nameplate showing the name of the city that donated it. All put in a new neighborhood named after the state in which the city resides. Just brainstorming here! (Once when I was quite young, there were serious floods in Oregon. Many house-trailers were needed. I drove one up there hitched to my buddy’s car, as a way of earning some money.) It seems reasonable to send such temporary housing to Haiti. They had to do it for New Orleans, didn’t they? REMEMBER THIS: Trailers for housing are manufactured in the U.S. How’s that for creating more jobs for the good of the economy?!
    16. (What others are there?)

C’mon, WORLD! In the future, let’s choose to respond to WARNINGS, not events, as a second-nature (habitual, knee-jerk) response!

I tried to make an acronym. I got close (but no cigar): Humanity (or Humane or Human) Emergency Relief of Earth’s Societies. ?? Nah.

There is criticism implied in this little essay. I am only trying to be constructive. I’ll bet that such planning is going on now, if our leaders are smart. I wrote a page on this blog about “Response to Warnings”. This is an addition to what I said there.

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Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 4:03 pm  Comments (1)  

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One Comment

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