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#193799 - 01/18/10 03:32 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: dougwalkabout]
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
Good lord doug. Haiti is turning out to be a worst case scenario, indeed. I was enjoying my morning coffee but now I am sick to my stomach. I want so desparately to help those poor victims in some way. but anything I think of seems too little too late. They need help NOW. Medical supplies, water, shelter, food. I know about most of the donation lines available. is there anything else short of quiting my job and flying over that I can do to help?

EDIT: P.S. I noticed a comment elsewhere about the medical staff pulling out due to security reasons at night. I also noticed one in the article about the Israeli medical staff bugging out so to speak for the same reasons. This makes me wonder what is going on at night that armed soldiers cannot provide security? Armed looters? Gangs? Or worse? Anything to do with the groups of Haitians armed with machetes I've seen in the news? Anyone have any idea why they can't provide security at night and what they need security from?


Edited by Mark_Frantom (01/18/10 03:40 PM)
_________________________
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#193800 - 01/18/10 03:44 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Lono]
Mark_F Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 714
Loc: Kentucky
That's easy Lono, read her thread on dealing with human waste and pay particular attention to her comments later in the thread about composting.

http://forums.equipped.org/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=193208&page=1

laugh
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#193801 - 01/18/10 03:45 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Mark_F]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
Flying in the politicians for photo opportunities doesn't help either. Now it might be the case that Mr and Mrs Clinton don't get on but they could have at least got the same flight into airfield at Port-au-Prince if the photo op was that important, especially with a Médecins Sans Frontières flight had to be denied a landing slot to make way for the VIPs (these flights didn't return empty back to the US though - so I suppose that is a few hundred less mouths to feed and water in Haiti)



Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (01/18/10 03:46 PM)

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#193802 - 01/18/10 03:55 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Susan]
Pete Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1361
If you take a look at the latest news - you can see some of the factors I mentioned playing out. Lack of coordination of relief efforts.

Let's take a look:

1. The Belgian team had to pull out because of security concerns - they are afraid for the safety of their doctors and nurses. I can't fault them, although the decision is tragic. But they must keep their people safe. It can be very hard to deal with security concerns in the third world.

2. U.S. Special forces arrive and start doing some good work, but not without organizational challenges.

Now let's imagine a different variation to this scenario. Let's suppose the US forces had been assigned the mission of establishing a "Green Zone" in Port au Prince, where they create a safe compound ringed by barbed wire and sentries. Inside the wire, they establish a temp hospital and a station for preparing large supplies of fresh water and relief supplies. That's an excellent objective for special forces, and it would have allowed the Belgians to withdraw to the safety of a camp with a secure perimeter. This would have allowed all personnel to be most effective at what they were trained to do - the doc's and nurses could treat injured people and the soldiers could guard the encampment. However, what we've got right now is a free-for-all with no overall coordination.

I'd like to hope that someone will figure this stuff out sooner or later, and get things more coordinated. But it takes time ... and sometimes doesn't happen at all.

Dropping supplies off helo's is not a great solution because the looters and bandits wind up taking control of a lot of the stuff.

And here's a comment from the IDF team on the ground, taken from an article published at www.debka.com ...

---------------------------------
IDF field hospital at full stretch in Haiti

The only facility in Haiti with a fully-functioning operating theater, the large Israeli field hospital treated many hundreds of patients in its first four days and helped at least one woman give birth. Another jumbo jet loaded with supplies and equipment is due to set out to replenish the facility's dwindling stocks. Medical aid and other basic necessities are still reaching the millions of distressed Haitians in Port-au-Prince and its outskirts too slowly to save lives.

The estimate of 200,000 dead may never be confirmed as at least 80,000 corpses have so far been dumped into mass graves to ward off epidemics. Two men pulled out of the rubble - one a Danish UN officer and a Haitian by the Israeli rescue team working for eight hours to extricate him - may be among the last to have survived more than five days in their concrete traps.
----------------------------------

other Pete


Edited by Pete (01/18/10 05:12 PM)

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#193804 - 01/18/10 04:13 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Pete]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Originally Posted By: Pete

Dropping supplies off helo's is not a great solution because the looters and bandits wind up taking control of a lot of the stuff.

other Pete


You don't know that - as I said before, its a race of the swiftest and most fit to gather the supplies from beneath the helo. That may be looters and bandits sure, but it is also fathers and sons, taking the supplies back to families and elderly. I don't pretend that every bit of the supplies gets to the ones who most need it, but you can't say that most of it ends up with looters and bandits either - there's just no evidence for that, even by local accounts.

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#193805 - 01/18/10 04:17 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Mark_F]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Originally Posted By: Mark_Frantom
That's easy Lono, read her thread on dealing with human waste and pay particular attention to her comments later in the thread about composting.

http://forums.equipped.org/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=193208&page=1

laugh


That's one thread I had skipped, there's only so much time in the day. Well, composting works, except when it fails - failure of composted fecal matter, a badly designed compost pile, will attract rodents, leading to the spread of disease, leading to the kinds of issues that are addressed and mitigated by a working sanitation system. The idea that all 3 million urban dwellers could compost as an alternative to a sanitation system is a big stretch, I would say impossible - that they might all do it without creating a disease risk is downright wrong. And as for the compost material of choice, sawdust - plentiful in the Pacific Northwest, we have lots of it; in deforested Haiti and urban Port au Prince, not so much.

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#193810 - 01/18/10 05:15 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Lono]
Pete Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1361
Lono - I hope that you are right and some reasonable amount of these supplies are reaching families in need. The situation on the ground probably varies from one location to another. The few pix I've seen from Haiti, incl. some photo's taken by an LA Times reporter on the ground, appear to show that looting is common right now. But granted - any media coverage is not depicting the clear overall situation.

If you personally know someone in the US Special Forces, you might encourage them to post their personal pix on the Web. My guess is that the military folks who are flying the helo's probably have personal digital cameras, so they may have photo's of what the scene looks like when they drop off their relief supplies. It would be interesting to see what these pictures show. I can't imagine why the Pentagon would restrict these types of photo's - since we are not talking about warfare here.

other Pete


Edited by Pete (01/18/10 05:33 PM)

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#193812 - 01/18/10 05:39 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Lono]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
"Well, composting works, except when it fails - failure of composted fecal matter, a badly designed compost pile, will attract rodents, leading to the spread of disease, leading to the kinds of issues that are addressed and mitigated by a working sanitation system."

Yes, by all means, use hard-to-supply drinking water to flush toilets like we do! Out of sight, out of mind! About 1% of the water on this planet is drinkable, so let's use it to wash fecal matter into the ocean.

Hey, let's run a fresh-water pipeline from the U.S. to Haiti! Or maybe just ship lots and lots of bottled water to do it!

Sue

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#193819 - 01/18/10 06:38 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Susan]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Originally Posted By: Susan
"Well, composting works, except when it fails - failure of composted fecal matter, a badly designed compost pile, will attract rodents, leading to the spread of disease, leading to the kinds of issues that are addressed and mitigated by a working sanitation system."

Yes, by all means, use hard-to-supply drinking water to flush toilets like we do! Out of sight, out of mind! About 1% of the water on this planet is drinkable, so let's use it to wash fecal matter into the ocean.

Hey, let's run a fresh-water pipeline from the U.S. to Haiti! Or maybe just ship lots and lots of bottled water to do it!
Sue

Well, okay - I'm not a sanitation engineer, nor do I have any expertise in Haiti or tropical climate water supplies. But neither do you - if we are equally ignorant of the specifics, can we agree that someone has solved this issue for adjacent nations - the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Bermuda, all Caribbean nations with similar water dynamics? Water is always in short supply on islands, and while Haiti may prove even more difficult than any of these, can we agree that a sanitation system is at least better than the option you have chosen, which is personal composting or the status quo? There are answers to a local water supply too - collecting rain water via rooftop catchements and storing it in cisterns, very popular I know in Bermuda and Australia. And flush type toilets are not the only option, I have crapped in more than a few toilets on world travels without any running water.

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#193820 - 01/18/10 06:42 PM Re: Haiti: Worst Case Scenario [Re: Pete]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Pete
Dropping supplies off helo's is not a great solution because the looters and bandits wind up taking control of a lot of the stuff.

That's probably not the primary problem on the minds of people in charge. IMO it's probably more just safety concerns. In the cases where you're actually dropping supplies from a hovering helicopter (I've seen that happening with the Blackhawks) or even bigger parachute-assisted drops from a cargo plane, anyone on the ground is vulnerable to injury if something lands on them. If you're desperately thirsty or hungry, people are going to run towards anything they see being dropped, and probably will try to stand underneath and "catch" anything. Of course, killing people unintentionally by dropping a pallet of supplies on them is also very problematic so you have to try and stay away from any people.

Then there's the chance of injury or even violence in the mad scramble for supplies, regardless of whether we're talking about supplies being distributed from a helicopter, a truck, or even a building. That's why you need security to organize the people once you actually get supplies to some location.

I saw one helicopter distribution that seemed to be organized. The Airborne guys got to the clearing first and set up a perimeter, the chopper landed and unloaded the supplies without crowds swarming the aircraft, and then...well, actually, I forget if CNN showed the actual distribution part. Anyway, that seems like the way it should go, although the actual amount of supplies you can load on a Blackhawk are not all that much.

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