The events of the past week in Haiti have been unbelievable. The complete destruction wrought by the earthquake has made an underdeveloped nation rely on far less than nothing.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, I watched in agony the incredibly slow response of national and international assistance to a human population in need. Many of us throughout the world are witnessing and reliving the agony of a slow response to a human population that is desparate and strugglng to survive.
There are two projections that I'd like to call to our attention: 1) the global population is expected to rise from 6.5 billion to near 11 billion in the next 100 years; and, 2) global warming is expected to result in a highe number of catastophic events and with greater intensity and impact.
Our state, national, and international responses need significant attention and investment, a new strategic focus is in order to meet the needs of an evergrowing global population that will continue to fall victim to an increasing number of powerful disasters.
A legitimate reponse time of 7 days is unacceptable. The international community, while it's ciizens and institutions come to help in times of desperate need, has to get immediate response organized, distributed, effective: now. We must start thinking about waves of response. Emergency medical care, water, and food must arrive within 36 hours of the event. Necessary equipment and so on arrives 48 hours after, 3 days, etc. We do not seem to be prepared for what will become more and more common: natural disasters.
The work of groups such as the Red Cross and others is not in question. It is time for both the public and the private to step up and better organize a response strategy to address what the future holds for people and the planet: an increasing number of disasters which will require more resources, quicker response, in the efforts to adequately meet the coming tidal wide of human need during times of crisis.
The global population is expanding, and our planet is sick and getting sicker. How will we plan and respond?