While I do not know a lot about emergency management and response in Haiti, or other poor Carribean nations, I do know this: Whatever they have is unfathomably simplistic to us. There is absolutely no way we can understand what is going on in Haiti right now, not even with the advance of 24-hour news. My dad has a friend who specializes in Carribean Search and Rescue and he says that in other areas they use shovels and rakes to dig through the debris, where as in the United States we use tools powered by electricity, such as the Jaws of Life.
As colleagues of mine are packing and preparing for trips to Haiti to assist in their various areas of expertise, it is so hard for me to sit half a world away and not be able to help at all! I am hoping that some of them will take me up on the offer to post their stories in various forums to make the world aware of the situation. I have included a post from a colleague already in Haiti....
"I'm on a DoD Crisis Action Team. We have been working 24/7 - two of my colleagues did 36 hour shifts. Just a few tips - crisis centers are being inundated with e-mails and RFIs. Please try to use use channels - nothing is worse than trying to do analysis, deploy resources, and riding herd on a herd of cats in terms of trying to de-conflict overlapping requirements."
So, as we keep all Haitians and first responders in our prayers, please keep in mind that while this disaster will fade from the news in a few weeks, the impact will remain in Haiti for generations. And, if you are willing to donate in anyway, please go through a respected agency.