The efforts at sending aid to Haiti in the wake of the devastating earthquake that hit early last week are slowly ramping up to speed. NGO’s such as Catholic Charities were already there when the quake hit and supplies and money are both coming in. The Red Cross is putting a massive amount of money and people on the ground there as quickly as can be done. The US military is either already on the scene or soon will be – the USS Carl Vinson, one of America’s Nimitz class supercarriers, arrived 2 days ago – bringing not only supplies but desperately needed transportation and the ability to secure the area.
The American people are stepping up, too. With special collections at Sunday Masses and the huge response to the Red Cross’s innovative “text-to-donate” program Americans are proving once again that they are some of the most compassionate people on the planet. Other nations are throwing in, yes, but we can be justly proud of our response.
Stories are coming up about anger rising in Haiti from people who have been waiting days for relief supplies and assistance. One thing I’m not hearing this time is a rising chorus of people here in this country blaming the administration for the lack of speed. Jerry Fuhrman at From On High puts it nicely in his post, “An Object Lesson in Disaster Relief“:
I think it’s instructive for those who blamed George W. Bush for failure to respond to the Katrina hurricane disaster in Louisiana promptly to see how Obama’s dealing with a similar crisis in Haiti. Surprise: It’s just not that easy to mobilize a national effort at bringing desperately needed relief to a population that has lost everything – including infrastructure:
Despite the efforts of the Obama administration to mount a massive relief effort, thus far that effort has failed miserably. But he won’t be blamed.
And he shouldn’t be. This stuff takes times, whether you’re willing to accept it or not.
Maybe it’s time to reflect …
Indeed it is. President Obama is putting quite a bit of this nation’s capability on the table to help out in Haiti but warp drive ain’t one of the tools in his bag. It takes time to assess and give the right orders. It takes time to carry those orders out. Just like last time. Reflection would be the appropriate response. An apology would be, too, but I’d settle for some acknowledgment that it was tougher than some people gave it credit for.