Sunday, January 17, 2010

US Population reduction policy at work

The New York Times: Even as the United States took a leading role in aid efforts, some aid officials were describing misplaced priorities, accusing United States officials of focusing their efforts on getting their people and troops installed and lifting their citizens out. Under agreement with Haiti, the United States is now managing air traffic control at the airport... Said Jerry Emmanuel, the air logistics officer for [The World Food Program], 'Their priorities are to secure the country. Ours are to feed. We have got to get those priorities in sync.'...

In a notice over the weekend, the US Federal Aviation Administration said priority would be given to search and rescue, military and humanitarian aircraft, in that order... 'We're all going crazy, said Nan Buzard, senior director of international response and programs for the American Red Cross. 'You don't have any kind of orderly distributions of food, water, shelter, clothing. The planes are in the air, the materials are purchased. It remains a frustrating situation for everyone... [President René] Préval said he was making food, water, medical supplies and the re-establishment of communication the priorities for his government.

DWB/MSF: Despite guarantees given by the United Nations and the US Defense Department, an MSF cargo plane carrying an inflatable surgical hospital was blocked from landing in Port-au-Prince on Saturday, and was re-routed to Samana, in Dominican Republic. All material from the cargo is now being sent by truck from Samana, but this has added a 24-hour delay.

USA Today: The next morning after the earthquake, as a military man of 37 years service, I assumed... there would be airplanes delivering aid, not troops, but aid," said retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore... "What we saw instead was discussion about, 'Well, we've got to send an assessment team in to see what the needs are.' And anytime I hear that, my head turns red."

BAGnewsNotes: If you're as tired as I am from watching... the endless loops of video... of Haitians, in isolated incidents, grapple with each other for food; or reading how total mayhem had broken out; or watching reports harping over and over (to the consternation of the locals) about how violence must be just around the corner, this UN video is a necessary infusion of reality.

Point Two. Have You Ever Been Without Water? Hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti have had no access to clean water since the quake hit... People can live without food for a long time. Without water? A very short time. In hot conditions people can become dehydrated in an hour. Lack of water puts you into shock and starts breaking down the body right away. People can die within hours if they are exposed to heat without water...

Point Five. Aid Is Sitting at the Airport. While millions suffer, humanitarian aid is sitting at the Port au Prince airport. Why? People are afraid to give it out for fear of provoking riots. Which is worse?
Image source here.