Thursday, October 28, 2010

When Aid Doesn't Come

Every day, somewhere in the world, there is a disaster that displaces people from their homes and normal lives. When that happens, the victims inevitably hope for outside help to come and rescue them.

Indonesia recently suffered a double whammy as a powerful 7.7 earthquake generated a tsunami that, as of this writing, killed more than 430 and made 20,000 more homeless, and that was followed by a volcanic eruption of Mount Merapi, killing and injuring more folks.

The two events happened hundreds of miles apart, and that had the effect of dividing the relief effort, with part of the aid going to help victims of the volcano and another part heading for ground zero of the tsunami.

Having two disasters going on at the same time makes it difficult to carry out relief efforts, but then when you throw in bad weather, it can become almost impossible to deliver the necessary aid. Near the region of the tsunami, stormy seas and bad weather hampered relief agencies for several days, making it impossible for them to even examine the impact of the tsunami on the populace. That meant that the victims were on their own. And when the weather finally allowed rescuers to arrived, the first thing they had to do was assess the situation so they could determine what needed to be done to save the survivors. That also took time.

I bring this up to illustrate how important it is to NOT rely on outside assistance in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Those who survive the incident (whatever manner of disaster it may be) must be able to fend for themselves for a while, because it is very likely that local emergency relief agencies (hospitals, EMS, etc.) will be disabled or overwhelmed, and outside relief agencies might take a while to arrive.

Here are some things to consider:
  • Become aware of the conditions in your locale that can cause a disaster. If you live near a forest, it might be a forest fire. If you live in an earthquake zone, that might be what causes the disruption. Do an assessment of your area and identify all of the possibilities. 
  • Make an emergency response plan for yourself and your family, including a 72-hour kit, possible escape routes, rendezvous points, hunker-down sites if you are forced to evacuate. 
  • Get as much emergency training as possible, especially emergency medical training. 
  • Conduct practice evacuations during which you give yourself just a few minutes to get your stuff together and head for your alternate hunker-down site. This can take the form of a "hurry up" camping trip that you suddenly throw together with 5-minutes notice. Make it fun, but have a larger purpose in mind. 

1 comment:

  1. My camper is always ready to roll, and my survival gear trailer.

    Got beer & food & firewood, send ice.