Disaster relief: Where to begin | TheUnion.com

Disaster relief: Where to begin

When recounting post-disaster lessons learned, it seems that most disaster relief “experts” ignore the most important lesson that was learned during Hurricane Katrina and what we’re currently witnessing in Haiti.

The most successful of disaster relief efforts are those that make their absolute first priority the immediate re-establishment of order and the re-opening of distribution routes within the disaster area.

Relief efforts that begin with mustering stockpiles food and supplies without first ensuring responder safety and the clearing of distribution routes ultimately delay the timely distribution of life-saving materials to those desperately in need. It may not be the most politically correct thing to advocate, but establishing post-disaster control as soon as possible will best expedite any large-scale relief distribution effort.

More importantly, the immediate mobilization of an adequate enforcement contingent into a disaster area will directly result in more lives being saved than will efforts solely focused upon securing pretty faces on telethons.

Patrick Farrell

Grass Valley

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