Top 10: Natural Disaster Aid Relief Effort Fails

Andrianq January 26, 2010 Comments Off


Natural disasters hit with little warning, but what for future reference has to be established is not how to avoid an earthquake, hurricane or volcano eruption, but how proper and functional aid relief is set up. Even an hour delay in proper aid response of domestic and international leaders is unacceptable.

Based on history and some inference taken from prior relief attempts by the national and international community, it’s not hard to see that the fall out of any natural disaster is always going to be frustration.

10. Hurricane Andrew – 1992

FEMA was still more or less in its infancy at this point. Created by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, FEMA was untested until Andrew hit the coast of Florida. FEMA had 15 years to prepare but apparently needed another week.

It took them nearly that long to mobilize and deploy troops to help the thousands and thousands of stranded survivors. This was the first test and first fail of the woe begotten program. Why was Katrina such a surprise? Because Andrew taught them nothing.

9. Tangshan Earthquake – 1976

At approximately an 8 on the Richter scale, this monster of a quake killed 240,000 people. Though not the largest Chinese natural disaster of all time, it is bad enough. China refused International aid and like typical Chinese government help in that decade, it was a “fend for yourself” situation.

8. Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami 0 2004

Over 225,000 people were killed in the tsunami that followed the Indian Ocean quake in 2004 that hit in nine countries on a total of three continents. And although thousands of traveling tourists were affected, Western nations were slow to respond. Again, as with Haiti, the supplies were showing up, but the distribution was slow.

7. Burma Cyclone – 2008

When the poor nation of Burma was hit by a killer cyclone in 2008 the people affected were left to languish and suffer until their government made an international appeal for help, little too late. Over 2,400 people died needlessly as a result of pour shelter before the storm and lack of any real aid for sometime after.

Mark Farmaner, of the Burma Campaign UK, commented on the government’s failed aid relief: “The regime failed to warn people and are failing to help them now”, “One of the few things that may motivate them to allow aid in is the fear of another uprising. People are asking why they can mobilise the police and army to attack democracy protests but do nothing now.”

6. Live Aid – 1985

Live Aid in 1985 raised something like $238 million dollars to relieve Africa’s woes due to drought and famine. You could build a rose garden across the state of Nevada with that kind of money, but not a few farms in Ethiopia.

Nope. If 25% of any of that money made it to the people, it made it straight to their bellies and not their futures. Mismanagement of funds and giving into pressure from bandit military governments watered this effort down to nothing.

5. Pakistan – 2005

An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale leveled mountainside villages and left Pakistan in dire straits in 2005. Relief to be people victimized by the natural disaster was slow in coming. With the infrastructure down and a lack of any co-ordination, thousands died in the aftermath.

4. Iran – 1990

Does anyone remember the “tremor” that killed 40,000 people in Iran? Probably not. The big disaster in all of this is simply that this region gets earthquake after earthquake and nothing is done by the international community to help prepare the populace. Buy a man a fish and feed him for a day, but don’t teach him how to build an earthquake proof home.

3. Indonesia – 1997

Fires rages through Indonesia in 1997, unchecked and left to burn up valuable rainforest, and where was Mr. Eco- Al Gore? When things looked smoky for neighboring countries was aid offered. The West did very little to help; the main reason being that rainforest wasn’t hip at the time.

2. Hurricane Katrina – 2005

In the biggest muff job of all time, FEMA dropped the ball again. This disaster exposed how the disaster relief organization had some pretty hefty holes in its policies. The reason it’s listed so high is simply that with all the resources at its disposal…. People who hate the US could have done a better job.

1. Haiti Earthquake – 2010

International relief makes the same errors over and over again. The people of Haiti should be in luxury tents, their 3,000 escaped criminals rounded up and their dead buried by now. But instead, while World leaders promise aid, the streets of Port-au-Prince remain in chaos, survivors still in desperate need of shelter, health care and basic supplies like food and water.


Relief efforts are however gaining momentum, if still a bit late, with more money and more troops.

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