1. Should other countries offer and provide assistance to the US in this time of need?
If they have the resources and we have the need, why not? 2. Should the US ask for help with hurricane relief from the international community?
If they have the resources and we have the need, why not? 3. Should there be an expectation of reciprocal help when we aid other countries in time of need?
If they have the resources and we have the need, why not?
In fact, as Cadman
's link demonstrated, several already have made the offer. But there could
be a problem - "we" may not want
any help. ITAR-TASS
reports that Russia was ready to provide assistance, but that the White House said "No, thanks":
"In response to the official offer regarding the sending of an Emergencies Situation Ministry plane with rescuers and a helicopter on board, the USA, through the National Security Council, made several confirmations within a day of the inexpediency of such a move," Russian Ambassador to the United States Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Wednesday evening.
"The Embassy was told that federal authorities and specialized services have all the necessary means and equipment to conduct relief works in the disaster area," Ushakov said. ...
Earlier, director of the international department of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry Yuri Brazhnikov offered head of the U.S. federal emergency management agency Michael Brown to send rescue teams and relief supplies, as well as two or three experts to coordinate the operation with American colleagues.
Brown took the offer into consideration and said he would give an answer shortly.
Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers plan to drop sand bags into the raceway of the broken levee has fallen through
Black Hawk helicopters were scheduled to pick up and drop massive 3,000-pound sandbags in the 17th Street Canal breach, but were diverted on rescue missions. [Mayor] Nagin said neglecting to fix the problem has set the city behind by at least a month.
"I had laid out like an eight-week to ten-week timeline where we could get the city back in semblance of order. It's probably been pushed back another four weeks as a result of this," Nagin said.
"That four weeks is going to stop all commerce in the city of New Orleans. It also impacts the nation, because no domestic oil production will happen in southeast Louisiana."
Even if a single helicopter wouldn't have made that much difference in terms of dropping sandbags, there were only fourteen helicopters on hand the other night to lift people from the roofs of houses that could have been under water by morning. It's estimated that there are between 188,000 and 300,000 people still stranded in New Orleans. I would think that every available resource that could help save lives - even now - would be accepted happily.
Canada has also offered to assist
A specialized urban search and rescue team from Vancouver will be joining the rescue efforts in Louisiana in the wake of hurricane Katrina. ...
"The last conversation that I had with them, they're in a bit of a crisis management mode trying to figure out where the need for teams is, and where the resources are going to be best used," he said.
The 45-person team - which was dispatched to Southeast Asia after the Boxing Day tsunami - is equipped to provide emergency room doctors, building engineers and swift water rescue personnel.
Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan said that Canada is prepared to send everything from water purification systems to the Canadian military's Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) and Ontario is looking into whether its medical and hydro workers can help and has offered their Emergency Medical Assistance Team. The Canadian Red Cross said lists of volunteers experienced in large-scale disasters were being assembled and that most of the volunteers would help spell off exhausted American relief workers in the coming months, she said.
However, a Canadian reader wrote the following to Daily Kos (I know, I know):
On tonight's news, CTV (Canadian TV) said that support was offered from Canada. Planes are ready to load with food and medical supplies and a system called "DART" which can provide fresh water and medical supplies is standing by. Department of Homeland Security as well as other U.S. agencies were contacted by the Canadian government requesting permission to provide help. Despite this contact, Canada has not been allowed to fly supplies and personnel to the areas hit by Katrina. So, everything here is grounded. Prime Minister Paul Martin is reportedly trying to speak to President Bush tonight or tomorrow to ask him why the U.S. federal government will not allow aid from Canada into Louisiana and Mississippi. That said, the Canadian Red Cross is reportedly allowed into the area.
Canadian agencies are saying that foreign aid is probably not being permitted into Louisiana and Mississippi because of "mass confusion" at the U.S. federal level in the wake of the storm.
Hopefully - if true - this is just temporary chaos related to the "bit of a crisis management mode" mentioned in the first piece.
On the other hand, Andrea Mitchell reported on MSNBC earlier that we've declined
aid from Canada, Germany, Venezuela and other unnamed countries (presumably including Russia). Now, I could understand this if the disaster relief effort were running smoothly - if we had been prepared for such an emergency and were efficiently coping with it. That, however, does not appear to be the case. It looks more like the White House is saying "We're in charge here - what's going on?"
If these countries are
offering assistance, we should accept. It would be ungracious not to. And, as FEMA has been part of the DHS for several years now, we should certainly have a strategy in place for coordinating an international effort in the event of a major tragedy such as this - right?