Friday, December 31, 2004

Waiting For The UN

"We have US C-130s flying in and out here dropping off heaps of supplies; US choppers arrive today; USAID is doing a knock-out job of marshalling and coordinating US and local resources to deliver real assistance to real people. The Aussies have planes and troops delivering stuff; even the Indians have goods on the way. The UN? Nowhere to be seen. OK, I'm not being fair. Last night they played host to a big 'coordination' meeting of donors to announce that the UNDP has another large 'assessment and coordination team' team arriving. Our USAID guys, who've been working 18-20 hrs/day, came back furious from this meeting saying everybody would be dead if the delivery of aid waited for the UN to set up shop and begin 'coordinating.'"The Diplomad

It would appear that the UN is still spinning it's beurocratic wheels while the US, Australia, Japan and India are actually doing something for the people who survived the tsunami. USAID members are working long hours actually doing something while the UN and its humanitarian relief is making plans. Our "stingy" government along with other "stingy" nations are busy supplying food, bringing in helicopters to help reach more remote areas not aaccessible by mud and debris clogged roads, making food drops, bringing in donated heavy equipment from American corporations to provide for the immediate needs, have medical teams on the ground and are doing all that is humanly possible to do in such a widespread disaster.

The death toll keeps rising and if it were not for the countries already involved, on the ground I shudder to think how much greater the death toll would be while we waited for the UN to get it's act together.


  1. Pat, you're right. The US and it's core coalition did act more quickly from the place this diplomat is stationed. However, taking the scale of the disaster into account, it's unlikely our level of committment (with strong respect for the USAID people already there), can take on the entire disaster. That's why there are plenty of local organizations that are taking action immediately. And the UN can't be everywhere at once, just as the US can't be everywhere at once. Considering that 500 million isn't even going to be enough, everyone recognizes it's going to be a heavily cooperative effort to be able to reach and rebuild all the places hit hard including the places we've already started helping.

  2. Thanks for the link to Diplomad. I'm interested in the foreign service.