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 Post subject: Irma emergency relief
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:28 pm 
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To all of you who reside outside the US...

Have you heard anything in the media about relief efforts from your countries?

It seems like every time there is a natural disaster around the world, there's a giant push in the US media to detail how "we're helping". However, for Harvey and Irma, I'm not hearing anything in the media about how other countries are helping us.

Is this because our media sucks or is that not how other countries do things? I'm genuinely curious and more than willing to entertain other reasons.

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Belushi TD


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:50 pm 
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Just from casual browse British Dutch and French relief efforts seem to be concentrating on Caribbean islands that were practically blown off the map. Criticism of UK gov for not doing enough, but one of the RFAs was already stationed in Caribbean in readiness and Ocean is on the way.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:14 pm 
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Belushi TD wrote:
To all of you who reside outside the US...

Have you heard anything in the media about relief efforts from your countries?

Thanks
Belushi TD


Israeli rescue teams depart for south Florida

https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,734 ... 73,00.html

There is also a German "rescue mission" on the way, so being German I'd recommend trusting these guys instead.

http://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/zeitges ... on-florida

PS: "These guys" as in not the Germans!

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Last edited by M.Becker on Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:36 pm 
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The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency - MSB - is monitoring the situation as is undertaking preparations should aid requests be forthcoming.
The usual course of events is to offer support - normally specified with details of what type of aid is available - to the responsible government agency in the affected country and then await a reply.
In this case it is the DHS.

MSB has a long standing cooperation with the DHS/FEMA as illustrated by for instance the below.

Quote:
Fruitful bilateral meeting between US DHS and MSB

Published: 2017-07-11 kl. 14:58
On the 28th and 29th of June the yearly bilateral meeting was held between MSB and the US Department for Homeland Security (DHS) in Washington. The Swedish delegation was headed by Director General Nils Svartz, and his counterpart, the newly appointed Acting Under Secretary of Science and Technology, William Bryan.

The meeting highlighted the deep and successful collaboration that has developed during the agreement's ten year. Ongoing projects were presented, and priorities for future collaboration were discussed. Experts on both sides took part in workshops focusing on First Responders and Cyber Security. The parties noted a number of action points, and agreed on that there are a lot we can do together to increase the security and resilience in our society!

An often requested asset that can be activated is Ericsson's portable cell phone systems that can be deployed and used to re-establish coverage in a disaster affected area.
https://www.ericsson.com/en/about-us/su ... n-response

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:39 pm 
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Timbo W wrote:
Just from casual browse British Dutch and French relief efforts seem to be concentrating on Caribbean islands that were practically blown off the map.


Brazilian relief efforts are concentrated on Caribbean islands(and Haiti) as well. A Brazilian Air Force aircraft has just retrieved 14 people who were stranded in St. Martin, 8 Brazilians and 6 foreigners(3 Dutch, 2 Venezuelans, 1 US national), and is expected to arrive in Brasília at 0430 UTC. I'm not sure whether we sent anything for Harvey, but I'm sure the offer for support has been made.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:10 am 
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Good to know. I've always been a little suspect of what our media portrays, ever since the tsunami in 2004 in Indonesia. The coverage I saw was all about how the US was providing all this aid, and I knew for certain that at LEAST the Aussies were helping right alongside.

And, I found this...

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/mexico-earthquake-country-withdraws-hurricane-aid-offer-to-us-after-donald-trump-fails-to-send-condolences/ar-AArPAvr?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

For reasons I don't understand, I can't cut and paste from that page.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:05 pm 
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The Portuguese Air Force has a C-130 in Guadalupe to evacuate Portuguese and other European nationals the were in the Caribbean.
Aid flights from Europe to the Caribbean or Southern US have been given priority refueling and/or servicing at Lajes airport in the Azores.
2 C-17s (NATO + RAF) and a A400M (RAF) have been serviced on their way to the Caribbean.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:32 pm 
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I looked at the Straits Times (Singapore) archives on Harvey. (They do their Chinook training in Texas, and deployed the birds to help with the relief.) There were a couple of articles on that, but no more than 10% from the headlines.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:24 pm 
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Thank you, everyone.

It seems that there is help out there, but our media sucks and isn't reporting any of it.

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Belushi TD


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:40 pm 
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No offense, but that surprises you how? They're no longer in the news business, but the narrative business. Anything that doesn't advance that, they don't tell.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:47 pm 
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It doesn't surprise me. I just sorta figured that after all the "Look at what we did for our little (insert appropriate color here) brothers and sisters to help them recover from (insert natural disaster here)", they would feel the need to run something about how others were helping us.

Not sure why, but I did.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:20 am 
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Because that would imply that We, the Evil White Western Imperialists, were worthy of being aided...

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:14 am 
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The Bushranger wrote:
Because that would imply that We, the Evil White Western Imperialists, were worthy of being aided...

Or on the other side of the political spectrum, that Dirty Foreigners had the ability to help and the humanity to do it, rather than just sucking on the American teat.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:11 am 
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Belushi TD wrote:
It doesn't surprise me. I just sorta figured that after all the "Look at what we did for our little (insert appropriate color here) brothers and sisters to help them recover from (insert natural disaster here)", they would feel the need to run something about how others were helping us.

Not sure why, but I did.

Belushi TD

To be fair, very little of the external assistance for the hurricane is going to the US - you guys are well able to look after yourselves, and the severity of the hurricane had significantly reduced by the time it hit the USA. And with all of the stuff going on at home, why would US residents really want to read about what other countries are doing in the Caribbean - it's mildly interesting for instance to see that the UK has sent Marines to round up escaped prisoners on Tortola, but given the average US citizen really isn't very interested in what happens outside their borders then it's hard to justify to an editor including it in a report when something about a lost dog in a local city will draw in far more viewers.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:17 am 
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Yep. If Irma had hit Florida with the force that had at one point been predicted then it would have been a huricance of apocalyptic proportions for the US. Given the predicted strength and the predicted path the evacuation precautions and warnings were perfectly justified, and anyone who stayed in a mandatory evacuation area was a moron.

Just imagine if the storm had passed over Miami at the strength it hit Barbuda. That was a perfectly reasonable scenario and the devastation it would have caused would have made Andrew seem like small fry in comparison.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:42 am 
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pdf27 wrote:
To be fair, very little of the external assistance for the hurricane is going to the US - you guys are well able to look after yourselves,

I kind of figured that was the case. For the most part, the US is well-off enough that supplies and manpower can be sourced internally, even for major disasters. Sometimes specialized resources from elsewhere might be needed (e.g. extra SAR teams or something), and the gestures of support are appreciated, but for the most part they're just that--gestures.

There are other places that need the help more, as they can't provide it themselves.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:43 am 
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jemhouston wrote:
No offense, but that surprises you how? They're no longer in the news business, but the narrative business. Anything that doesn't advance that, they don't tell.



"All the news that fits the narrative, we print."

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:35 pm 
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gtg947h wrote:
pdf27 wrote:
To be fair, very little of the external assistance for the hurricane is going to the US - you guys are well able to look after yourselves,

I kind of figured that was the case. For the most part, the US is well-off enough that supplies and manpower can be sourced internally, even for major disasters. Sometimes specialized resources from elsewhere might be needed (e.g. extra SAR teams or something), and the gestures of support are appreciated, but for the most part they're just that--gestures.

There are other places that need the help more, as they can't provide it themselves.


I agree. I've just googled it and after Katrina the German THW (Technisches Hilfswerk, an orgnaization specialized on desaster relief) sent a team with 15 pumps to help getting the water out. In case of earthquakes, the THW also often supports with search and rescue dogs. These are the kind of specialized capabilities which can be of help even for an industrialized country.

But foreign support organizations trying to get to Florida to provide basic things like tents, water and food would cause way more trouble than they'd help.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:12 pm 
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The problem is that the US is not set up to receive aid and we really doesn't know what to do with it. We're set up to be aid donors and aid suppliers, not aid receivers. That's why the best way to provide aid is to give cash to non-governmental organizations like the Red Cross/Red Crescent and its equivalents. There are established ways of dealing with such organizations and that's an efficient way of doing things. For example, quite a few countries that offered aid after Katrina were .. expressing it tactfully . . . were not those with whom we have the friendliest of relations. For example, the Vietnamese offered us $100,000 worth of aid immediately post-Katrina. That really flummoxed people. In the end, it was quietly arranged for the money to be donated to Vietnamese residents associations and other charitable groups (one might note that US-Vietnamese relations a lot warmer afterwards). That happened a lot. The Chinese did the same only they didn't need to be prompted They sent five million dollars directly via Chinese neighborhood and social associations and shipped 104 tons of aid via chartered aircraft. The key was, they made the arrangements first and then sent the goods.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:07 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
The problem is that the US is not set up to receive aid and we really doesn't know what to do with it. We're set up to be aid donors and aid suppliers, not aid receivers. That's why the best way to provide aid is to give cash to non-governmental organizations like the Red Cross/Red Crescent and its equivalents. There are established ways of dealing with such organizations and that's an efficient way of doing things.

Disaster work in the US is very federalized (ie, the bulk of the work is done at the local level, then OA (county or city), then state, then Federal). As such, our systems are very much designed to plug in external aid, and we are heavily encouraged to plan ahead of time where we're going to get stuff from, and to know what we can lend to other agencies. It works fairly well, assuming you put any effort into it at all. As such, the system is very much designed to take outside agencies stuff and feed it into the point of the spear. That is the job of the logistics section at the incident level, the department operations center, the OA emergency operation center, and so forth. Ideally, you have all of these aid agreements in place well before OPERATION GODZILLA hits, so you know who your partners are, what they can offer, and where you can get whatever it is you need.

The real reason we want monetary donations is to ease the logistical burden of handling physical items. Money takes nobody off the line to handle, and can be used for anything. Stuff, especially stuff we didn't ask for and may not want, requires lots of people to handle, and transportation, storage and distribution efforts. It's drummed into our heads to be very very careful before making appeals to the public, because you will be inundated with stuff people have, don't want, and think other people could use.

A good example is food. Lots of people will make food donations If it's not made in a commercial kitchen, we can't serve it in shelters. The staff might eat it, but it often gets thrown away. Clothing is the same way - it has to be inspected, sorted, matched, laundered, stored, accounted for and issued. Lots of substandard stuff just gets tossed. A good example is Hurricane Andrew in 1992 - the highways to Florida were covered with discarded "aid" items that relief workers could not accept, and they ended up with a massive burning operation on one of the airport runways to dispose of all the clothing they were given and could not use.

So yes, we do have systems to accept aid. It's just that we prefer to decide what we need and reach out to our partners to get it, than have it thrust upon us and be forced to devote precious people, time and resources dealing with it.

Francis Urquhart wrote:
For example, quite a few countries that offered aid after Katrina were .. expressing it tactfully . . . were not those with whom we have the friendliest of relations. For example, the Vietnamese offered us $100,000 worth of aid immediately post-Katrina. That really flummoxed people. In the end, it was quietly arranged for the money to be donated to Vietnamese residents associations and other charitable groups (one might note that US-Vietnamese relations a lot warmer afterwards). That happened a lot. The Chinese did the same only they didn't need to be prompted They sent five million dollars directly via Chinese neighborhood and social associations and shipped 104 tons of aid via chartered aircraft. The key was, they made the arrangements first and then sent the goods.

That's how we'd ideally like it done.

The problem is that it's damned difficult to get people to not give stuff. We don't want stuff (or people) self-dispatching. If you want to help, write a check, get signed up as a disaster service worker or disaster health volunteer (thats what we call them in CA) or get the ball rolling between your organization and the local office of emergency services BEFOREHAND. That's a whole lot more useful than rolling into a disaster with a Uhaul full of God Knows What.

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