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#193511 - 01/14/10 06:11 PM Haiti: Worst Case Scenario
MartinFocazio Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2148
Loc: Bucks County PA
So, I think what we have in Haiti is the definition of "Worst Case Scenario" for large scale emergencies. Katrina was a fender-bender by comparison and at every possible level from the scale of the destruction to the inability of the locals to do anything at any level to prepare for it.

As I look at the media - and the cover of todays NY Daily News literally brought me to tears (see slide #52 here - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con...ST2010011401110 )

- I am compelled to bring to the attention of this list some of the captions I've read from disturbing images:

"A Haitian man tries to rescue a teacher trapped amid the debris of the earthquake as he crawls past a deceased schoolgirl at Ecole St. Gerard."

"In the period before intensive relief efforts hit Haiti, residents are forced to seek refuge from the earthquake's effects wherever possible."

"Men remove the body of a girl from the ruins of a building in their Port-au-Prince neighborhood. Haitians frantically dug out family members by hand and piled bodies on street corners, as clusters of bloodied and dazed survivors pleaded for help."

"Survivors stand on the roof of a demolished house in Port-au-Prince. With thousands of people missing, dazed survivors in torn clothes wandered through rubble, as more than 30 aftershocks rocked the Haitian capital where more than two million people live, most in the grip of poverty."

"People come to the aid of a wounded man. Thousands of people gathered in public squares late into the night, singing hymns and weeping."

So - what's missing from these stories?

Well, the looting, the violence for one.
Where is it? This is a poor nation - the prison collapsed and the violent inmates escaped. They have a military that's just barely above a mob of thugs, yet (so far) no widespread violence or reports of localized incidents.

What I've been seeing is people with nothing more than their hands pulling concrete off of people. The next year is going to be a hell of proportions we can't imagine - I have a friend who has done aid work down there and on a bright sunny day, it's a hellish existence, so now it's something beyond what we can imagine. But it seems that people are helping people.




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#193517 - 01/14/10 07:30 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: MartinFocazio]
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
Gruesome and sobering.

We think we have to stockpile a years worth of food, medicine and packs full of hi-tech gadgets and emergency gear and here the people of Haiti are showing the rest of the world what real survival is all about - making do with what you have and what you know.

Originally Posted By: martinfocazio

So - what's missing from these stories?

Well, the looting, the violence for one.

... But it seems that people are helping people.

Let's hope it continues. I looked through the photos and saw a lot of people still in shock. But I also saw a lot of desparation. Wide spread devastation + Interrupted services + desperate population + planeloads of supplies poorly and/or unevenly distributed = potential for disaster.

_________________________
Uh ... does anyone have a match?

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#193519 - 01/14/10 07:42 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: MartinFocazio]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3556
Loc: Spring, Texas
According to the UK Telegraph, widespread looting has been occurring. You can't escape human nature.

One particularly nasty quote from the article:
Thieves were blamed for starting at least one mass panic in the city's central square during the night, spreading rumours that a tidal wave was coming so they could steal the belongings left behind by hundreds of fleeing people.

-Blast


Edited by Blast (01/14/10 07:43 PM)
Edit Reason: added quote
_________________________
Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

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#193522 - 01/14/10 08:05 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: MartinFocazio]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
Quote:
So, I think what we have in Haiti is the definition of "Worst Case Scenario" for large scale emergencies. Katrina was a fender-bender by comparison and at every possible level from the scale of the destruction to the inability of the locals to do anything at any level to prepare for it.


I think that depends on the response from the International NGOs and especially the response from the US Government and US military. There are already French, Cuban and Norwegian SAR/Medic teams on site with many more international teams on route.

What is a little unsettling at the moment from media reports is the fact that the US military is sending 3,500 Soldiers and 2,200 Marines into Haiti. No doubt they will go in heavily armed as their initial mission will no doubt be a security one. I doubt the 82nd Airborne know very little about setting up triage centres and extraction of survivors from collapsed buildings. Having heavily armed US Marines standing on street corners sipping from their canteens, whilst looking on at the desperately thirsty locals as they pick away at the rubble along with the international NGOs could just be the beginning. I really hope I'm wrong on this one. The US military doesn't have an inventory of Blue Helmets and has never put them on and they aren't about to start.

I have this horrible feeling that it can only get worse, much worse.


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#193523 - 01/14/10 08:10 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Blast]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
'Looting' after a disaster of those dimensions could probably be considered 'survival mode'. Like we say here, you do the best you can with what you've got.

Most of the people there are desperately poor -- what have they got to steal? Food? Water? A shirt that isn't covered with the blood of family members? I think we can safely assume that the 'looters' aren't stealing big-screen TVs and Ipods. If there's food, water and bandages in a local store, should they go after it? Wouldn't you? Remember, this is a country where close to 65% of the people are so poor that they are eating mud to stay alive.

Haiti has virtually no money, no real emergency infrastructure, no plans, little equipment, few medical supplies or trained people. I doubt that they have much in the way of heavy equipment like cranes for lifting debris, or training to avoid further building collapses as they search for buried people.

Looting under these conditions? YEAH! It's called 'survival'.

Sue

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#193526 - 01/14/10 08:28 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Susan]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3556
Loc: Spring, Texas
Quote:
Looting under these conditions? YEAH! It's called 'survival'.


The looters aren't just stealing from stores, they are stealing from other people, too. This fact pretty much negates Martin's bit about everyone pulling together and being too busy saving people to rob them.

-Blast
_________________________
Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

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#193533 - 01/14/10 08:59 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Blast]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1903
Loc: Washington, DC
Haiti's a disaster on its best day. The photos coming out of there are going to get much, much worse.

Now they've shut down Haiti airspace, they don't have room for any more airplanes and not enough fuel for the ones that are already there.

And the western world's still-reeling economies are going to pinch assistance efforts.


http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2010/01/14/world/worldwatch/entry6097747.shtml

January 14, 2010 3:57 PM

Looting on Rise amid Haiti's Growing Desperation


A desperate citizenry combined with an absence of police forces has led to increased looting in Port-au-Prince in the wake of a massive earthquake that is estimated to have killed tens of thousands.

Video footage from the city showed bands of Haitian youths armed with machetes wandering the streets looting, as the local police were largely invisible.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said there have been reports of minor looting. Crowley said the U.S. military is headed to Haiti to "stabilize" the country



Who's running Haiti? No one, say the people


14 Jan 2010 21:14:09 GMT

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Desperate Haitians turned rubble-strewn streets and parks into makeshift hospitals and refugee camps on Thursday in the absence of any noticeable response from authorities

A major international aid effort has not yet kicked in, although plenty of small groups, many from the United States, have scrambled quickly, moving personnel into Haiti by plane and overland from neighboring Dominican Republic





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#193539 - 01/14/10 09:22 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Blast]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Originally Posted By: Blast
The looters aren't just stealing from stores, they are stealing from other people, too. This fact pretty much negates Martin's bit about everyone pulling together and being too busy saving people to rob them.
-Blast


The two behaviors are not mutually exclusive. It is likely that most people are helping when they can but taking what they feel they must. I doubt anyone is standing on legalisms. A weak infrastructure and extreme poverty are so widespread in the best of times that there were few reserves of anything to start with. The terms 'clothes on their back' and 'a pot to [censored] in' come to mind.

There will always be a few that take advantage of the situation, phishing sites for fake charities showed up online within hours of the earthquake hitting the news, but most people seem to be cooperating and helping as much as they can.

Quote:
... steal the belongings left behind by hundreds of fleeing people.


Yea ... that's got to be a kings ransom. Take the poorest people in the poorest nation in the norther hemisphere. Wreck their homes and infrastructure to make them refugees. Take everything they have left and dump it in your yard ... and a day later you would pay someone $100 just to haul it all off.

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#193540 - 01/14/10 09:25 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Art_in_FL]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1903
Loc: Washington, DC

Interesting data on the earthquake itself and comparison to other historical quakes.

That earthquake fault is visible from the surface.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2010/01/14/GR2010011400151.html



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#193541 - 01/14/10 09:36 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Dagny]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
Quote:
Now they've shut down Haiti airspace, they don't have room for any more airplanes and not enough fuel for the ones that are already there.


Well this is not exactly the case. There are many international/military airfields within 500 miles such Cuba (Havana, Guantanamo), Miami, Bahama's, Turks and Caicos islands, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.

Getting aircraft in and out in a shuttle system should be easily setup to get international NGOs/Aid into Port-au-Prince.

I have just watched the 10pm BBC news and there are British SAR teams sitting at the airport in the Dominican Republic - they have been there for the last 24 hours.

This situation appears to have started after the US FAA closed the airspace over Haiti at the request of the Haitian Government, even though the Haitian Government is non existent and the US military have 'secured' the airfield.




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