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#193618 - 01/15/10 04:20 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: NightHiker]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Originally Posted By: NightHiker
Originally Posted By: Mark_Frantom
Originally Posted By: Lono
Haiti had a mostly inadequate infrastructure before the EQ, afterwards its ocean ports have been knocked down and the remaining airstrips are inadequate to provide airlift capacity to support the nearby population. Ocean ports are generally built on areas that may be subject to liquefaction, so restoring normal crane lift capacity to/from ships will take a while, probably too long to help.


In an effort to keep up the interesting and mature discussion, would temporary ports like those used by Allied forces at Normandy on D-Day be viable? I know those were built way ahead of time but surely there is something similar that could be used now. Maybe a ferry system from boats to beaches? The logistics of such a thing are beyond me but there has to be a workable solution. If there is, surely it is already in the works as we speak. For the sake of the unfortunate victims in Haiti, I hope so.


Haiti's shoreline and reef system is very restrictive, there are only a couple of deep water ports and beaches that could accomodate landing large quantities of materials AND then allow it to be transported to where it's needed. I was involved in hydrographic and beach "studies" in 1994 in Haiti, trying to establish exactly where heavy equipment could be brought ashore. Cap-Haitien is a probable location but that's about it. Even then, getting the materials onto the beach is a logistical nightmare - massive interaction of aircraft, ships, airports, sea ports, transportation assets....


That's good to know. To Mark's question, I have to say I don't know, but engineers should be doing the kind of assessment that NihtHiker did, and propose a recovery infrastructure plan. NightHiker might agree, it depends on the terrain that's left after the shake - if the dock area is more or less intact but the cranes destroyed, they might do some temporary fixes to the docks and bring in 'portable' lift equipment for immediate use. Either way, from some port photos I saw on the Boston Globe site, I don't think there is any quick fix there.

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#193622 - 01/15/10 04:51 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Lono]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
This is mostly common sense, but here's visual evidence that Haitians are gathering in the open spaces, places that probably should be transitioned to mass shelter areas run by agencies that can provide food, medical, and emotional support. Some are too small, but at least a few of these open spaces (stadiums) I know we pre-identified by looking at Visual Earth sat maps just after the EQ happened. http://www.digitalglobe.com/downloads/DG_Analysis_Haiti_Earthquake_13Jan2010.pdf

Getting aid to a population that already is sitting in the safest place possible is different than getting aid to people who remain in debris-filled streets. You need a path to the site; you need to begin with announcements to those on the site of the plan for a shelter, negotiate for space with those already on the ground if necessary, and begin to offer services, water, food, medical care, transitioning people over the a shelter space. The shelter space should generally be behind a perimeter that can be protected, and services continued there. ICRC and the UN has relevant experience in doing this in mass disaster scenarios. Like Arney points out, the nature of people doesn't change immediately after a disaster, social bonds strengthen, and the prospect of an active shelter and recovery area with an offer of assistance is generally enough to get people involved in setting it up and receiving services. You do need to be careful about a stampede, because each shelter space can only accomodate so many people, and a population can descend on a fresh site from miles in any direction. The sheer number of affected Haitians is scary. Again, there's a helluva lot of logistics to consider in deliverying aid there.

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#193623 - 01/15/10 04:51 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: NightHiker]
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
+1 nighthiker. I know my thoughts on a temporary port would not be an easy fix (and probably not cheap), but I figure a lot of offshore drilling companies use them on a regular basis and if one happened to be close by ... Wishful thinking I suppose. The airport is definitely the most viable option at this point. I wonder if air drops of supplies to any isolated communities would be any benefit?
_________________________
Uh ... does anyone have a match?

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#193624 - 01/15/10 05:01 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Mark_F]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Mark_Frantom
I wonder if air drops of supplies to any isolated communities would be any benefit?

Well, it's the people in the heart of Port-Au-Prince that is the main concern, not small towns away from the capital. I'm sure planners would love to do something like what happened early in the Afghanistan invasion where a C-130 flies in low and they just drop loose Humanitarian Daily Rations (HDR's) over some open area. But that was a completely different scenario.

Do that over a tent city or any other unsecured area of Port-Au-Prince now and I'm pretty sure that it would turn into a Lord of the Flies free-for-all where the young and strong take it all. This is part of the relief conundrum--the longer relief takes to get to the people, the more desperate the people get, and the fewer viable options available to get that relief out to the masses safely and equitably.

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#193636 - 01/15/10 06:43 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: NightHiker]
James_Van_Artsdalen Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 449
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: NightHiker
I'm willing to bet that one of the first things construction undertakings is going to be adding an additional runway that will accomodate military heavy-lift aircraft.

Actually warehousing adjacent to the airfield may be a higher priority. They can already fly in C-17's with the runway they have: with air traffic control working the next problem is likely where to put everything you bring in, and then worry about bring in even more.

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#193638 - 01/15/10 07:06 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: NightHiker]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Another way to conceive of the Haiti relief operation: the world community is taking on the food, water, shelter and medical relief for upwards of 3 million Haitians on no notice. In addition many nations have launched emergency rescue operations for those still under the rubble, also without notice. In an environment without working infrastructure to any great extent. Mind boggling stuff, and this is just the initial response.

This article from this morning's Seattle Times is a great example of how basic first aid training gets pressed into action in a disaster - http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2010798299_haititeacher15m.html. When a disaster strikes, there are prepared and unprepared - if you're prepared, with any level of training, you will be providing aid and assistance, possibly to an extent you never imagined. I think we should all think through what our response would be in a similar situation. To be honest, part of me wants to cower in a hideyhole at the thought of all those crush injuries and fractures, which I would get to help treat for the first 5 days or so, another part of me says to suck it up and be ready to help out.

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#193639 - 01/15/10 07:22 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: gryps]
James_Van_Artsdalen Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 449
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: gryps

... and offers a cautionary tale about the accuracy or 'current' media reporting.

What got the media in trouble was passing on official statements from the mayor and police chief. Normally that's a reasonable thing to do, but not with New Orleans officials.

Originally Posted By: Arney
Originally Posted By: James_Van_Artsdalen
...an Amphibious Assault Group would be handy for putting large amounts of supplies ashore at many sites...it's probably the group most able to move thousands of tons of supplies to many minimally-prepared sites.

But I guess you could just zoom onto the beach with your supplies riding on LCAC's (hovercrafts). Quite an expensive ferry service there.

I doubt any other method is even 1/10th the cost. On the other hand, there may be no other way to get supplies ashore right now. But Nighthiker says there isn't any way to move supplies inland so it may be a moot problem.

Originally Posted By: Mark_Frantom

In an effort to keep up the interesting and mature discussion, would temporary ports like those used by Allied forces at Normandy on D-Day be viable? I know those were built way ahead of time but surely there is something similar that could be used now.

Those were purpose-built for that operation at that site. I don't believe such things are viable any more from a military standpoint. I think today you land via helicopter an hovercraft, secure a site for an airstrip, then capture a harbor.

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#193652 - 01/16/10 12:36 AM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Arney]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
"I was just reading that a TIME magazine photographer has seen two roadblocks Haitians set up downtown using the corpses of their fellow Haitians to protest the slowness of the relief operations."

Think about that for a moment... it doesn't make any sense at all!

Someone is bringing you water, meds and food, so you block off the access to slow them down even further, so you go longer without water, meds and food? What?

Typo? Misinterpretation? Outright lies?

Sue

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#193653 - 01/16/10 01:29 AM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Susan]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Susan
Someone is bringing you water, meds and food, so you block off the access to slow them down even further, so you go longer without water, meds and food? What?

Actually, the point is that NO water, food, medicine is getting to these people. That's likely why they're angry enough to do something like this to protest their situation.

You can hear the story from the horse's mouth in a brief interview at the BBC. This the TIME photographer that I was mentioning.

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#193654 - 01/16/10 02:41 AM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Arney]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
People need some rumor control and exercise some mental restraint in not assuming what is or what might be going on. Generally, with a shortage of reliable evidence otherwise, applying a slight positive bias is safe. It isn't as if finger wagging, being a moral scold or adopting a 'holier than thou' attitude helps anything.

The thing about people starting a rumor of a tidal wave to get people to drop supplies they can loot is itself a rumor. People working themselves into a lather over the possibility of a tidal wave is entirely possible. The possibility of a tidal wave was included in the initial reports of the earthquake. That this rumor might propagate and some people panic is possible. People picking up property dropped when people have run away is also possible. If you really needed water and someone drops a jug of it and runs so there is little chance you might get it back to them might be something of a windfall. Would your turn away out of respect for abstract property rights?

But A plus B plus C, barring multiple corroborating witnesses who were positioned to see the entire situation, doesn't amount to making the initial rumor accurate. Has anyone done an investigation. Perhaps interviewing multiple people who would know?

Likewise there are stories of people using burning tires to burn bodies. And rumors of people building roadblocks. But then again where would one safely burn bodies with the only fuel available, tires? In the road makes sense. This is possible. Now burning tires are also a historic way to block roads. So it is not entirely improbable that people just seeking to dispose of bodies and to limit the chances of contagion might be confused with people building a 'roadblock'. Did anyone ask what they were doing and why?

It depends on your assumptions about what people do and are likely to do. We saw the same thing during Katrina when white people taking things from stores were recorded as 'taking what they needed to save their family' while dark skinned people were recorded as 'looting'. There was no effort in either case to interview the people and find out what they were doing and their motivation. A critical lack of investigation and information that allows people to project their hopes or fears onto the situation.

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