Singh's response to earthquakes (Part 1)

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has clearly failed miserably in his response to the devastating earthquakes last week. Here is a report from on-scene: … slamrelief

[quote]MADIAN, INDIAN KASHMIR, AND DIRHKOG, PAKISTANI KASHMIR - When the earthquake struck on Oct. 8, Muzloom Hussain was at his post for the Indian Army in Uri. The food he carried home with him after the disaster is still the only aid the village has received.

Even five days later, no aid workers have come to Madian. No Army helicopters have carried away the wounded. The villagers are wondering what is the point of being part of India.

“We have buried three people with our own hands. We have received no help from outside,” says Muzloom Hussain, standing in front of a small lean-to made of cornstalks, where his family now lives. “The thing we need is shelter now. The snows are coming.”

In far-off villages like Madian and across the Indian portion of divided Kashmir, the death toll from the quake continues to rise. While relief trucks have begun to trundle in, much of the relief seems to be coming from private aid groups, mosques, and separatist parties, rather than government agencies.[/quote]
Five whole days and they haven’t even gotten food in. Forget about evacuating everyone to the NehruDome, where there would no doubt be rampant cannibalism anyway. The IEMA has done nothing useful. Prime Minister Singh should be impeached.

BTW, I fully expect seventy pages of Singh-bashing to materialize, especially from those who complain about the “American bias” in the IP forum. That’s why I added “(Part 1)” to the thread title.

1). India is a developing country.
2). India has a poor military.
3). India has an extremely poor infrastructure in most places.
4). India has a developing economy.
5). Most places in India exist in extreme poverty.
6). India has the second highest population in the world.
7). India lacks the technology the US does to cope with such situations.

India cannot be compared to the United States, which calls itself a developed country. It (apparently) has a well run and co-ordinated military able to deal with national disasters quickly and efficiently which it boasts about all the time on the Discovery Channel.
It also has a good infrastructure, well organised emergency services and enough people to deal with a disaster of any scale

I think, under the circumstances, Singh has done very well to reach Americas standard of disaster control and contingency planning, being a third world country and all.
He’s right up there with Bush, setting an example but with less resources, money and technology.

Besides, no one cares about India or Pakistan, as can be seen from the two or three pages in the Pakistan Earthquake thread.

Then again, after the tsunami, India told the outside world not to worry about it, that it could look after its own. After which, it sent naval vessels to help out Indonesia, but left its own most isolated areas to fend for themselves. Nice message there–we’re big enough and tough enough, see, look at those ships! What do you mean, you want help at home? Can’t you see, we’re playing great power games here. :loco:
And this time? India troops crossed into Pakistani-Kashmir to lend aid, but still can’t help out at home. Message?

India and Pakistan may not be world-class heavy weights, but their individual military mights are not to be sneezed at… and India’s got the upperhand. It’s simply more interested in play other games.

Unimpressive response in both cases.

Nice reply jaboney with some interesting points. However, it seems that the US is also interested at playing other games. Not being quick enough in New Orleans but having ships in the area of the tsunami send aid out and impress the world.

Oh sure, games get played all the time, all over the place. Didn’t Taiwan turn down Chinese assistance following 9/21? And the US rejected Saudi assistance post 9/11?
When things go well, the stupid games are left aside and a disaster becomes an opportunity to put old conflicts aside.
I certainly expect more from the US gov’t than I do from India’s, but I would like to see better from India’s.

Given the rate and manner of recent Indian development, its good fortune in emerging from its colonial period with reasonably advanced forms of gov’t and civil service, not to mention English and a broad range of opportunities for advanced education, and now a reasonable degree of peace and respect for the political institutions, I hope to soon expect to see better from the gov’t when disasters strike.

Not that that lessens my disappointment with their responses to these events.

FEMA versus the Indian government? Which is the more incompetent?

Sounds like a fair fight to me.

Having driven through the streets of Mumbai feeling like I was touring the upper reaches of Hell though I’d have to give the nod to the government of India. The American people just have too big a head start on FEMA. Let’s hope we can keep it that way.

Bugger. Estimated deaths are now pushing 50,000, and it’s going to continue to climb.

Note the final lines on disputes over the use of helicopters.

[quote=“BBC Online”]Tents crisis hits quake victims

Only the heaviest tents will protect against the brutal Kashmiri winter
There are not enough warm tents in the world to protect refugees from the South Asia earthquake from the coming winter, a top UN official has warned.

[b]Andrew Macleod told the BBC that the emergency was so vast it was an even bigger challenge than the 2004 tsunami.

He said the problem was growing every day, and was “outside the scope of any government to handle”.[/b]

The warning came amid a dispute between Pakistan and India over an Indian offer of helicopters to aid relief work.

Pakistan said it would accept the Indian army aircraft, but not their pilots or crew.

India responded that it would not be possible to provide military helicopters without Indian pilots and crew. [/quote]

Well…it’s also Ramadan.

[quote]But this is Ramadan, the time of year that Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset.

And that is why Mohammed Mustafa ran into a problem.

Feeding 1,200 people with no kitchen requires a bit of preparation.

You need to light fires, boil rice and cook meat. It takes several hours. You have to get going in advance.

But one of the local mullahs did not see it that way and he paid Mohammed Mustafa a visit.

“What are you doing?” he shouted. "Don’t you know it’s Ramadan now? This is just not permitted.

“You can’t cook food during the day. It’s against Islam. Stop or I’ll burn this place down - your tents, your pots, everything.” [/quote] … 341604.stm

I thought it was the other way around: China played games with politics even with respect to the international aid offers Taiwan was receiving.

That’s sounds familiar and is probably true as well.
Things like that make me appreciate the idea of not a small government, but a modest one.

Hey! There’s looting! And banditry going on too! … &printer=1

[quote]Pakistani quake survivors fight over food

By Raja Asghar
Sat Oct 22, 3:37 AM ET

Incidents of people attacking and looting aid trucks in parts of earthquake-stricken Pakistani Kashmir are growing, witnesses say.

Many of the accessible mountain villages are receiving only a trickle of supplies two weeks after the October 8 earthquake killed more than 51,000 people in Pakistani Kashmir, adjoining North West Frontier Province and Indian Kashmir, local people say.

Kashmiris living elsewhere in Pakistan have been in the forefront of loading up trucks to get help to their native villages, and some are furious that they are being waylaid.

“They are worse than vultures,” said Mohammad Ishaq Khan after two truckloads of food and tents he had sent to his village from Lahore were looted in broad daylight before they got there.

“Especially the young generation is worse than dacoits,” he said, using a word meaning bandits.

Another witness reported seeing 100 men and women fighting one another with sticks and tree branches over flour dropped off by World Food Programme trucks on a mountain road on Thursday night.

Nearby, rocks had been strewn across the road in an apparent effort to halt trucks so they could be looted, he said.

The regional government has promised to take “exemplary action” against what it called unscrupulous people who may have stocked more relief goods than they need.

But locals say influential people and their followers are leading the grab for aid dropped by helicopters which falls all too readily into the hands of the tough.

The WFP estimates more than 2,000 mountain villages are yet to receive help two weeks after the quake struck with roads leading into the hills impassible.[/quote]

[quote]Hey! There’s looting! And banditry going on too!

Wow. Thery’re nearly setting as bad of an example as the citizens of the United States.
Too bad you could almost understand it in Pakistan though, as the US emergency services claim to be the best in the world (like everything else) - there shouldn’t be any need to loot.

People were already starving/poor before the earthquake, unlike in the States.
Indias are emergency services are mediocre in comparisson (although recent procedings would contradict this). Aid is not getting through - what other options are there? At least the people of Pakistan have got a life and death reason to loot.

I was just in Kashmir (India) last summer. I made a few friends there and now I’m worried for them.

One of the key observations I made in Kashmir was that the Indian troops stationed there, at least in the populated areas, must be some of the lousiest soldiers in Asia. None of them seemed to know how to handle a gun. They would lean on them, swing them around, hold them horizontally while walking or riding in a bouncing jeep. Even the large guns on the tops of vehicles were often pointing in a below horizontal direction.

There also seemed to be no clear chain of command as my girlfriend and I discovered on our first evening. We were herded into a mass encampment of pilgrims who had been cleared off the highway due to a rebel threat. The idea that we, two foreigners, could safely stay there was ridiculous, but no one seemed to know who had the authority to drive us to a better place. Each new guy on the scene would say something different. No one seemed to be in charge and many were trying to act as if they were in charge. Finally, our jeep driver managed to get one important guy’s permission to let us drive onward to our destination. We drove down the road a bit and got to a phone shop and called the people waiting for us. They came and got us out of the pickle before we were nabbed again.

The rift between the Indian soldiers and the Kashmiri locals is enormous. I doubt very much that the soldiers could do a good job of helping the relief effort. They’d be more likely to steal the aid and try to resell it at a profit. They disdain the locals much the same way China disdains Taiwanese.

At the time we were there, there appeared to be as many soldiers as locals. There were checkpoints every three kilometers or so along all major roads. Troop numbers are probably reduced now, since that was during the Armanath pilgrimage season, but I suspect the Indian army would have a hard enough time just taking care of its own sad lot of “soldiers.” And I think most everybody knows, spontaneous cooperation is not a strong point of the Indian psyche.

As for the Kashmiris, you can count on them to attempt profiteering off any situation I reckon. We found them, at least the ones involved in the tourism business, to be far less honest than their Indian counterparts, which is saying a lot. It’s a messed up place, that’s for sure. But it’s magically beautiful.

From the level of donations to help out, it looks like nobody really cares about this one. Aid workers on the ground are pulling their hair out trying to get some attention and resources. Kudos to Bush for calling for more people to give.

[quote=“CBC News”]Bush calls for increased donations to earthquake relief

U.S. President George W. Bush is calling on the world to donate more to earthquake relief efforts in Pakistan and India as winter approaches.

“The human toll is staggering,” Bush told a news conference in the White House on Wednesday. “As the harsh mountain winter approaches, millions will need food, water, shelter and medical care.”

More than 73,000 people died and three million were left without homes as a result of the Oct. 8 earthquake.

Americans have given $43 million to earthquake victims, a fraction of the $1.5 billion they donated after December’s Asian tsunami.

Bush highlighted the American response

Why should we care? I certainly don’t. To hell with them. Let them freeze in the dark.

My taxdollars at work.

From the USDOD:

[quote]…U.S. Central Command has led a 63-nation relief effort in Pakistan since Oct. 10, 2005, which includes food, medical care, transportation and other types of post-disaster support.

More than 1,200 U.S. military members and 25 helicopters had been deployed to Pakistan at the peak of the relief mission, Whitman said.

About 650 U.S. service members in Pakistan continue to provide aviation, medical and engineering assistance in earthquake-affected areas, he said. And 12 U.S. CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopters continue to fly disaster relief missions in Pakistan.

To date, U.S. military aviators have flown more than 4,000 missions, delivered more than 11,000 tons of supplies, and transported more than 18,000 people as part of earthquake relief operations in Pakistan, Whitman said.

The U.S. also is donating about $6 million worth of medical, engineering and refueling equipment to the Pakistani government, Whitman said.

That assistance includes more than $3 million worth of medical equipment that’s been used in the relief effort, he said, to include a mobile surgical hospital, anesthesia apparatus, ventilators and X-ray equipment.[/quote] … _4194.html

Utter nonsense. Of course you can. It’s called “aiming low”.

If Maposquid sees the U.S. at the same level as India, he got every right to do so. His opinion.

Off topic but … hey? What became of that “Saddam had to be removed. He was bad to the locals”?

Be a bit careful CS about tossing out the last remaining excuse for the Iraq war so casually, will you?

Be a bit careful CS about tossing out the last remaining excuse for the Iraq war so casually, will you?[/quote]

Oh [i]spare[/i] me. If you have so much concern, I suggest you make up your own CARE package and deliver it to them personally.

Sorry, never had. Never thought going into Iraq “to help these poor people” was a good idea, valid excuse or compelling reason.

How about you?