5 comments on “Putting the Complex Back into ‘Complex Humanitarian Emergency’

  1. Hard as it will be, they have to prioritize. And the first thing is to remove all dead bodies, regain control of the streets and donations, set up aid stations every few meters and get to work. They will need large equipment and operators for a long time to come, that means fuel and mechanics on hand as well as machinery to work heavy work. The temperature has to be considered, hot there. And we have the cyclone season right around the corner, another very real threat. I wish everyone there God Speed, good luck and safetly. What a mess.

    • Thanks Maureen. Absolutely right- prioritization is essential, and I agree, clearing bodies and roads and setting up security and essential aid services have to happen as soon as possible. Heavy equipment is a challenge- much of it will be damaged, or inaccessible, and operators will be injured or simply not able to work. Bringing in heavy lifting equipment from outside is possible (the carrier USS Carl Vinson is inbound now so perhaps it will being some appropriate military hardware) but both costly and logistically complicated. I guess we’ll see what people can achieve.

      I think one of the challenges in the early stages of a response like this is the focus that is put on sending expensive international Search and Rescue teams into an emergency. In my opinion, while recognizing that every life saved is a blessing, these teams generally have very little impact- pulling out a few dozen people alive perhaps- compared to the hundreds of thousands of survivors saved by their neighbours and family members in the minutes and hours after the event. We should spend less money and effort sending in these expensive specialist teams, and more time from the moment of the disaster focusing on identifying what will be needed from day 3 (heavy equipment, field hospitals and teams, etc.), recognizing and accepting that we can’t do anything useful in the first 3 days that isn’t already happening on the ground because it’s already there, and doing a better job of making sure we mobilize that ‘second wave’ of first responders to save lives and facilitate the rest of the relief process.

      Thanks for your time, comments and concern Maureen.

  2. What a wonderful post. I just stumbled onto your blog. I signed up for email notification of future posts, as I would like to continue to follow your writing. Thanks! And God speed to Haiti.

  3. Pingback: complexity in Haiti « Sarah's Issues Blog

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