UK Search and Rescue Response to Haiti Earthquake
Johnnie Walker from Sussex Search and Rescue has yet again kindly written a piece for Re-Search with his views on the UK’s search and rescue response to the events unfolding in Haiti.
Are you going to Haiti?
A number of colleagues have asked me in the last couple of days if SusSAR is heading out to Haiti, to help look for survivors. It seems that peopleâ€™s understanding of the situation is somewhat naÃ¯ve. Although we all get a feel good feeling from the thought of UK Fire and Rescue Professionals trekking into the country with the heavy lift kit and SAR dogs, you have to ask if this is an appropriate use of resources. As Search and Rescue professionals we all know that difficult decisions have to be made. We search some areas several times while not searching others because this best serves the misper. Therefore, is the expense, and logistical demands of western search teams really justified, when people who have already been found, and rescued, are lying in hospitals alongside corpses, dying due to a lack of basic medical care?
The people of Haiti need food, clean water, shelter, and basic medical supplies. To believe that they need SAR resources is to completely fail to grasp just how bad their situation is. Diverting local resources and supplies to look after westerner rescuers will lead ultimately to a higher death toll, though it will make good telly.
Therefore, donâ€™t book your flight. Listen to the Sex Pistolâ€™s â€˜Holiday in the Sunâ€™ and give every penny you can to the Disaster Emergency Committee. www.dec.org.uk It is hard for pro-active people to sit on our hands, but it is necessary if we are going to put the people in need first.
This view is shared by many others; I have often referred people to a 2003 Guardian piece by Nick Cater – All Search, No Rescue. However, here is your chance to air your view…
January 14, 2010
Â· Robert Bradley Â· 9 Comments
Tags: DEC, Disasters Emergency Committee, Earthquake Response, Haiti, Johnnie Walker, Sussar, Sussex Search and Rescue, UK Fire Service Search and Rescue Team, UKFSSRT, Urban Search and Rescue Â· Posted in: Guest Posts, Search Thoughts