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Tuesday 12 November 2013

Disaster Relief in the Philippines.

Watching the BBC news at six tonight I realised that the Beeb has no idea of the complexities involved, All they seemed to do was wail *Something must be done” & “Won’t someone think of the Cheeeldren”.

Before any relief can be given you need, above all, information of what is required, and where. It’s pointless transporting five tons of rice to a town, and then finding that they have a warehouse full of the stuff and what they really need is the water to cook it.

Then you need to find a way to get it there. We always see pics of military helicopters buzzing around and presume that that is the way to do it. Apart from the fact that the Philippines is unlikely to have a vast armada of serviceable helicopters, they usually can lift very little of use.

In the case of the Philippines the only realistic means is by road and sea. Of course the roads will need to be cleared to enable the trucks to drive down them.

So the armchair wailers at the BEEB should think before they pontificate.

And before anyone sneers and say what right does TFE to comment on these matters? My reply is. Seen it and done it.

A number of years ago I ran a team of 30 tasked with rebuilding essential services on Jamaica after it was hit by a hurricane. I had two tasks whilst I was there. Firstly to put the roof back on the Kingston General Hospital (I remember using my management skills on the Chief Executive at the beginning of that little project. It’s amazing how they suddenly let you know their priorities when you have them against their office wall pinned by a hand round their neck).

The second project was more rewarding. A polio rehabilitation centre for kids out in the hills. On this project we had to re roof it, restore power and water. clear debris and carry out a comprehensive clean up.

So I know a little about disaster relief.

Oh and just as an aside. I was interviewed by five TV and radio stations. Guess who got lost trying to find the rehab centre? Starts with a B.