Quake Aftermarth, what can we do/who wantrs to do something

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by johnojohnson, Dec 27, 2004.

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  1. I posted the following text in the Casualty thread.

    But I though STUFF it I would like to know how many would put their hand up if asked to go, even if you're civvie.
     
  2. Then put a poll on Jono , and my kits always packed :D
     
  3. Thanks Pongo. My Kits ready too. What do you suggest the question(s) should be for the poll?
     
  4. Think about what you are feeling now John, and post that.
     
  5. Applaud the sentiment, but it is easy to forget that other countries have somwhat larger armed forces than do we! Example being Turkish earthquakes which tend to generate more offers than are needed. Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand all have internal security problems and consequently large reserves of military manpower, nor are they entirely "third world" in their equipment (road transport, engineering, air/aviation, maritime). India has v large forces.

    FCO, DFID and NGOs are assessing needs, but if we do not supply significant manpower it does not follow (from this!) that our priorities are wrong.

    BTW, good to see Sri Lanka, after some progress in negotiations with Tamil rebels, making it clear that government resources are available to assist ALL affected citizens.
     
  6. Thanks Hackle.

    I agree with a lot of your sentiments expressed here but (there is always a but) Darfur is a man made disaster that 3000+ troops are expected to police for no good reason other than making TBs name last longer that Margret Thatchers. Those troops could be part of a UN contingent specifically organised so that lines of communication, sanitation, health and general re-organization can be swiftly implimented and as for TB he would benifit more from this show of unity than getting more squaddies killed in an action that benifits a very minor country.

    Those countries that have larger military organisations and are also members of the UN are not contributing to the humanitary disaster in Darfur. Sorry but they are more concerned with internal problems (excluding natural disasters) than providing a force for unilatural good.

    Johno Johnson
    (Chris, not John)
     
  7. Personaly, i would go in an instant. The satisfaction gained from doing something that makes a difference is always worth it.

    I do feel that countries suspectible to this kind of disaster need to have more in place to deal with the situations. More temporary shelters, food storage, clean water etc. I know this is huge scale, but having resources available to deal with the immediate aftermath before international help arrives would be a good start. Time to think about ploughing some of the tourist millions into it methinks.

    Still, a bloody horrible situation, and if asked to help i gladly would.

    Boney
     
  8. Ive always fancied Phuket... lets do it

    Flash and corporal chose to go on the bangkok ladyboy rescue mission :D
     
  9. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    I seem to recall that in the past defence cuts were made on the basis that we had to 'reorganise' in order to face thenew challenges etc. etc. etc.,, the significant part being that emphasis was placed upon the humanitarian assistance role.

    What better time than when a major natural disaster strikes?

    The UK military certainly have the experts and the kit for dealing in the short term with his kind of situation, however much of the kit and many of the people are currently engaged in Bliar's sandbox adventure: Grasping Gordon won't want to fund it if themilitary are involved, so in the long run MoD would end up paying through yet more cuts. Perhaps the biggest obstacle, however, are the NGOs.

    The NGOs have built up quite an industry over the last few years, and the last thing they want is to see the military take it from them. They have some legitimate concerns, but these arebased on war zone experience and usually revolve around the long term effects of providing aid. This is not to say that NGOs aren't effective, but some are more effective than others, and many are poorly organised and waste money.

    I worked for an NGO for a few months in the Balkans. I saw how much some NGOs paid their staff, and the size of their administration: I saw how many of them went along with the local mafia rake-offs and black market activities in the interests of not treading on local toes: I saw the ICRC staff demanding clean sheets daily in an area where there was usually no power and often limited water: I saw NGOs refusing to co-operate with each other because one wanted to be in sole charge f a project. None of this helps the victims they are supposed to be assisting. Interestingly, some of the most dynamic NGO staff who wanted to make it all work in a joined-up way were ex-military (I remember Larry Hollingsworth, ex RAOC Col, dealing very robustly with locals and NGO staff alike when things weren't happening), but the beard and sandals brigade ultimately seem to rule the roost. Not forgetting, of course, the major political agendas....

    Military humanitarian intervention could work very well, but plans, kit and funding would need to be in place, and it would need to be run by a competent Minister - Clare Short actually has the right kind of ideas. It should be short-term, with a view to handing over to local control and NGOs early on.

    Bliar must be kicking himself - here's a perfect opportunity for him to paly the international statesman role he loves so much, and he hasn't got any soldiers left in the box.
     
  10. Personally the pants of this disaster is that myself and some partners have had a mobile medical support unit specifically designed for use in remote areas on the drawing board for the last 3 years!! It would have been perfect for the job but all of the manufacturers we have approached so far have been too short sighted to see the potential. Self supporting with integral comms, power, sanitation facilities, accomodation and enough medical kit to cover 100 personnel for three months. All we would have had to do is re-spec the med kit to cover the types of diseases likely and off in a C130 they go. We have the ability to produce a 500 bed Fd Hospital with 67 Units.

    Sorry to here of there disaster and yes if they would pay me enough to cover my bills at home I would go with no problem!!!!
     
  11. The difficulty is that there are no votes and no profit in this sort of thing. hence SFA gets done till there are, by which time its too late.

    Effective warning systems and so on are all technically feasible but if you cant even get the message across to people that if the tide suddenly goes out its time to leave, not hang about gawping (probably the most cost effective measure) what hope is there for technical remedies?

    In this case I fear the rescue types who are embarking at various airports as we speak will be of little use. There will be no live survivors under this rubble. The field hospital described above will be of some use but the principal things they need are clean water or the tools to make it, food, shelter or the equipment to improvise it and the means to deal with the dead before they become problem.

    Post Script:
    The best things we can do for them are to get our people out to free up local resources and get them the tools and materials they need.

    To paraphrase Churchill, "Give them the tools and they will do the job."
     
  12. With all due respect.. they probably have all the people they need... what they really need is money for relief materials , so when the appeals start, be there with your donations.
     
  13. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    Availability of people for labour-intensive operations such as clearing debris is probably not a problem; but essential people and facilities may well have been destroyed and they will need temporary reinforcement. It should not be forgotten that facilities in most countries, and particularly poor ones, operate at fairly high capacity all the time.

    If a disaster of this scale occurred in UK, would the NHS be able to cope without any assistance at all? Probably not, and neither would water, power and other basic infrastructure facilities.

    Both directed, specialist assistance is needed, as is money, but I am wary of giving through big corporate charities like the British Red Cross or Oxfam.
     
  14. Lots of good points, as usual, in VB's posts and others.

    When Hilary Benn (one Minister in present govt who seems rather decent) was being interviewed for BB R4 yesterday, the question was put whether the NHS would be prepared to grant leave to Sri Lankan staff wanting to help out in their country of origin. Benn was understandably cagy in his answer - doesnt want a kicking from J Reid.