Based on the televised reports coming out of Haiti of the suffering caused by the earthquake not much has been learned from past natural disasters including Katrina. As it was with Katrina the news media personnel was able to get in to cover the devastation for several days before rescuers and relief people could get on location not to mention provide water, food medicine or other basic services.
In my opinion the people in the rescue business should consult with our media people on how to get into these disaster areas in a timely manner. Now I know that news media people do not have to take equipment or services with them but the military could go in quickly to make surveillance of the disaster as quickly as our media people. Then security personnel could be dispatched as soon as possible with the coordination of any local authorities. By the third day water and food could be distributed along with rescue and proper medical providers and supplies. I use proper medical providers and supplies because we already know that crumbled buildings produce more broken and crushed bones than a flood. Several things are needed from all natural disasters: water, food, medical care, control of disease and if these things are done quickly it will save lives and prevent people from becoming unruly. When any people are trying to stay alive taking food is not looting it is called staying alive until normalization returns.
What we have witnessed in Haiti reminds us of the horrible days of people begging for water and food during the Katrina Hurricane aftermath. There was no excuse then and there is no excuse now. We can do better and we should demand more from those who are in the business of providing the services. As non United States citizens, Haitians who need access to care or temporary shelter should be granted quick access for entrance into America. We allow known terrorists access into America but squabble over children and people with major injuries from a disaster to enter. It does not make any sense to me. We allow persons seeking political asylum access quickly then we work out the paperwork. Another thing, in this country we have people like, Rev Pat Roberson and radio announcer Rush Limbaugh, who say they are Christians saying things like “God is punishing the people of Haiti because they made a pack with the devil many years ago”; Limbaugh said we give them enough from our federal taxes already and therefore should not contribute anything for relief. I am so happy that 99.99% of Americans do not believe in that nonsense.
I am so happy that Americans are like the biblical “Good Samaritan” from Luke 10 beginning at verse 33. “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road and he saw the man, he passed on the other side. So too a Levite, when he came to the place, saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was, and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave to the innkeeper. Look after him, he said, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.” If you notice there was no evaluation of how he got into this situation or asking if he had any financial means to repay he got, no color, race or religion was mentioned. The Samaritan saw a man in need and went into action and said to his caretakers if more money is needed, don’t worry, provide the service and I will pay the cost without out any questions of what you did. So even with our inability to respond in a way that I think we should to disasters I want to say we are still a “Good Samaritan” Nation.