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August 18th, 2010


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07:47 am
It seems to me very odd that every time that there's a disaster, world-wide, that every news service reports on the people complaining that the emergency response is inadequate. Once upon a time, maybe even just a generation or so back, there was little or no response at all, but nowadays help is expected the next day!

I'm thinking about what I'm hearing or have heard about the floods in Pakistan, earthquakes in China and Haiti, Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Indonesia/Vietnam/Indian Ocean, and so forth.

Emergencies like this are a surprise. Resources have to be marshaled, and then transported to places that might have limited access under the best of circumstances. It just seems like the poor victims expect the World's response to be instantaneous. It's not like we have transporter technology like in Star Trek.

Just a wee rant...

(18 comments | Speak, or forever hold your peace)

Comments:


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From:jamiethered
Date:August 18th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
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I'm right there with you. I keep wondering what happened to gratitude.
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From:neecerie
Date:August 18th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
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it went the same way as celebrating a victory...

replaced with rioting and looting when one's sports team wins.
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From:mycroftca
Date:August 18th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)
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An interesting point.
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From:mycroftca
Date:August 18th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)
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I'm sure that it's hard to be grateful when you are barely surviving. I'm not even looking for gratitude. But it's that expectation of an instant and perfect response that confuses me. OTOH, I have to wonder if that's the perception that the news media is leaving us with, while the people on the ground are relieved to have any help at all. In other words, the news media are reporting a lack of response, because they're watching people die (while they eat their MREs and drink their water bottles) while materials and manpower are not there yet.

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From:gillian16
Date:August 18th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
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Totally agree with you. But I also understand both sides.

I understand the panic feeling, I was in Cancun during Hurricane Wilma and it was terrifying and I wanted to be rescued IMMEDIATELY. But once I got my wits about myself, I did what I needed to do until help was able to arrive.

I think you have to live through something devastating before you can fully understand. But I also think living through something like that gives you a more appreciative perspective.
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From:mycroftca
Date:August 18th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
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I was in Florida for Wilma, and I've been through tornadoes, earthquakes, brushfires, landslides and floods. Seriously. I know what it can be like when the world seems to be attacking.

OTOH, I'm seriously wondering if that impression that I expressed is one that the media were generating, and in actuality the victims of the weather/Earth/whatever were glad to get whatever help they could?

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From:forestcats
Date:August 19th, 2010 02:36 am (UTC)
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Epicenter, always a fun ride.
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From:mycroftca
Date:August 19th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
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Yes, it's especially nice when the dogs take their cue from us as the house rocks...

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From:jennifleur
Date:August 18th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
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Consumer culture has created the instant satisfaction response. "We" now want to see that extend to every facet of our lives and when it doesn't we have a giant tantrum about it. It would be nice to have transporter technology but honestly even like phones now, would there really be a teleport platform in say rural Uganda?
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From:mycroftca
Date:August 18th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
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My understanding is that cellular technology is more common in the Third World than is copper-wired telephony.

However, instant gratification is a problem in my work, too. People get very irritable when they aren't better from their stroke or pneumonia in three or four days...

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From:caitlin
Date:August 18th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
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With regards to Hurricane Katrina... sure, the response was not immediate, but the main bother there was when the POTUS acted as though he did not care that there were people in the country who were in serious trouble... it showed lack of sensitivity.

Mr. GWBush did not even bother with marshaling resources, let alone issue the orders for such things to happen... for more than a week after. It felt negligent.

Katrina was visible and predictable... at least partially. The earthquake and tsunami... were not predictable. I don't know what to think about the Pakistan flooding.
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From:mycroftca
Date:August 18th, 2010 09:39 pm (UTC)
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IIRC, the Coast Guard and the military were already in position, and were willing to help with evacuation, but they are required to await the call of a state's governor. That didn't happen until a day or two after the hurricane came ashore, so there was no assistance with evacuation.

The unit that ended up being used to supplement the state's forces (Oh, and the police department evacuated, for the most part, abandoning the city at the time of crisis, and that's the mayor's fault, not the President's, but I digress) of the US Army, was stopped from deployment to one of our two wars at the time (I think it was Iraq), and sent into NOLA.

Now, I'm not saying that Bush did his job. Far from it. And his demeanor during and after the event was a travesty. But there were supplies and forces available, even before the hurricane arrived. It was a poorly handled response from the government of that state that set things up for an overall disastrous situation, that isn't being improved under the present Louisianan government...

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From:pnkngrnd3
Date:August 18th, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC)
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"IIRC, the Coast Guard and the military were already in position, and were willing to help with evacuation, but they are required to await the call of a state's governor. That didn't happen until a day or two after the hurricane came ashore, so there was no assistance with evacuation."

Yep. FEMA cannot step in unless a state of emergency is declared, which must be done by the local government.
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From:mycroftca
Date:August 19th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC)
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Thank you.
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From:sekl
Date:August 18th, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC)

Indeed

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Your rantiness is much appreciated on this subject. It's horrible to see any natural disaster, but people fail to appreciate that just because you can get a television camera in, does not mean that you can truck in blood, beds and other emergency supplies easily.
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From:mycroftca
Date:August 19th, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)

Re: Indeed

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Especially water. It's absolutely necessary, but bulky and hard to transport.

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From:dsrphoenix
Date:August 19th, 2010 03:14 am (UTC)
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I was always taught that in the event of a natural disaster not to expect help from any government emergency response agency for approx. 72 hours. What that means is that I must be totally self-sufficient for AT LEAST that period of time and probably longer. As it stands now we have enough supplies for approx. a week and a half on our own.
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From:mycroftca
Date:August 19th, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC)
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I totally agree, but there's lots of folks that don't pay the least attention to these recommendations, and still expect immediate help.

It seems to me very odd that every time that there's a disaster,… - This ain't no party, this ain't no disco... — LiveJournal

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