It has been gut-wrenching to watch the news, the internet social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and to listen to the stories coming in from Haiti. From physical devastation to emotional despair, there seems to be no end in sight. After watching the rescue efforts unfold, it seems to me that we have lessons to learn from this.
Global Warming and Copenhagen Summit
Recent news from an article entitled “Hedeggard says now is not the time for Carbon Tax”, it is reported that “The US, Japan, and Australia are all proposing to emulate the EU and introduce their own cap-and-trade scheme. However, the model is facing growing opposition with a number of economists and businesses arguing that a carbon tax would prove both simpler and more effective at curbing carbon emissions”.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, plead with Global Leaders of the world. “”There is little time left. The opportunity and responsibility to avoid catastrophic climate change is in your hands,” Mr. Ban’s remarks were made closing the day-long Summit on Climate Change.”
How does the United Nations apply lessons learned in times of natural crisis?
What is the United Nations (UN) learning with regard to mobilizing efforts, and rescuing a ravaged nation? Three days in, and there was still little help because the airport was devastated and the Haitian government, largely silent. Six days later, and civil unrest and riots cased UN workers to re-locate and take safety. Ten days in and there are still people being found alive, yet disease and dehydration, are on the brink of killing thousands more as the medical staff remains overwhelmed and under supplied.
How do we truly prepare for an earthquake of this magnitude?
As we have witnessed, there was little warning of the pending danger and devastation when the earthquake struck. Victims interviewed have said that the ground shook for about 30 seconds and then everything began tumbling down around them.
When you think about all the things that we have been told with regard to preparing for an emergency in America, the instructions normally tell you to be prepared by keeping an ’emergency kit’. We are told to “stock the emergency kit with bottled water, food, battery powered or hand crank radio sets, flashlights and extra batteries, first aid kits, dust masks, tools, can opener for food, maps, and cell phones with chargers”.
It is hard to imagine how one could have time, and the emotional fortitude to remember to grab this “previously prepared” emergency kit in times such as these. And even if one did have time to prepare a kit, I’m thinking that the three day time frame that is typically suggested we prepare for is simply not enough.
I am thinking it would make more sense to have a few weeks supply, if you are going to go to the effort of preparing an emergency kit. And it probably would make sense to bury it in the ground, in a field away from all buildings. That emergency kit probably should also include the following: pet food, bleach, an axe, a jack, bandages, a sleeping bag, a tent, a solar oven, a suitcase with wheels on it to carry everything if relocation is required, and unfortunately a gun with ammunition.
Is it the end of the world as we know it?
There have been whispers that this is the end of ages. Some think the end of the world is near. Many religions refer to the rapture, or day of reckoning. Surely this must be going through the minds of these devote beings. “Why us, why now, and is it the end of the world as we know it?”
Let us hope that there are brighter days for Haiti and its citizens – the orphaned, the sick and the dying. Let us hope that if nothing else gets resolved out of the UN and the Copenhagen summit, that the UN and all the nations participating, do a better job coordinating efforts for relief so that it does not get turned away. If we cannot truly be prepared for devastation of this magnitude, we must reckon with our system of providing natural disaster relief, and find better, faster ways.