What is it about catastrophes that.....

  TonyV 19:21 19 Jan 2010

mean that thousands of journalists and their crews have to turn up there and give all the reports when they all look well fed, clean and tidy, yet, the local populous cannot get any aid for days on end?

Why for instance, does George Alagiah have to be out in Haiti to act as an anchor man controlling the myriad of reporters from the BBC. Doubtless there are many many more from all over the world with all their respective crews as well staying in what ever Hotels are available to them and being generally fed and watered.

I just find it somewhat strange, particularly in these circumstances. I know we like to have news, but this sort of situation always seem to be somewhat over the top.

  bremner 19:24 19 Jan 2010

Martin Bell was on BBC News 24 at the weekend talking about this very issue.

He described how guilty he felt when reporting from such places but the bottom line being that it is that it was his job.

News agencies have a duty to report and by doing so this can lead to a great deal more being donated to the charities providing aid to the victims.

  TonyV 19:29 19 Jan 2010

I accept it is their job, but I wonder where all their "aid" comes from when all around are suffering! Are they roughing it? I somehow doubt it!

  Forum Editor 19:46 19 Jan 2010

are just that - they're there to report on events, not to dress up as if they're victims. I can't see how a news report would be in any way enhanced if the reporter was wearing dirty clothes, and looking as if he/she was starving.

Reporters visit disaster areas because we want to see and hear what's happening, that's what they're paid to do, it isn't necessary for them to blend in to the background.

  morddwyd 19:54 19 Jan 2010

You make a good point, but George Alagiah is not a TV reporter, of course, he's a newsreader, that's what he's paid to do.

He could do that job, and co-ordinate the reports, just as well from London.

  TonyV 19:58 19 Jan 2010

I am not saying they should, all I am saying is that it is surely strange when buckets full of reporters can get to the areas when it seems aid from where ever seems to struggle to get there. On the basis the Reporters can get there at the drop of a hat, why can't cargo planes/helicopters arrive with aid with same sort of speed?

  peter99co 20:30 19 Jan 2010

The Americans have held back doing airdrops in case they caused riots. They have now changed tactics and have begun to drop food whilst moving along an area to make sure the food is dispersed.

It is probably a big learning curve in these situations as to how best deal with such numbers of desperate people. Good reporting allows us to understand how things are developing and make allowances for what appears at first to be bad planning.

  Hercule Marple 20:49 19 Jan 2010

Maybe they could have dropped a squad of paratroopers with each food drop, to protect the supplies and quell any riots, lol.

  Grey Goo 21:07 19 Jan 2010

Hope they can use the parachute fabric to make temp shelters.

  Forum Editor 23:22 19 Jan 2010

Getting cargo planes into disaster areas isn't the problem, the difficult part begins once the planes are on the ground. You can't just open the cargo doors of a C-5 Galaxy, and let people help themselves to what's inside.

Distributing food and medical aid efficiently requires a transport and administration infrastructure, and - the one thing that doesn't exist in Haiti - a basic law and order system in the area of operations. The people who accompany aid efforts are trained in many skills, but working amidst machete-wielding mobs intent on taking your supplies by force isn't one of them.

To make matters worse, the people and authorities in Haiti were totally unprepared - they were pitched from normality into total chaos in the space of five minutes. That's what makes severe earthquakes the worst of all natural disasters; they occur mostly without any warning whatsoever, and they hit with maximum force instantly - there's no 'build-up' time in which people can make for safety.

Haiti dominates the world's media right now, but as the weeks pass the images will become less dramatic, and the disaster will slip from our screens. The real aid work will go on however, it will be years before Haiti recovers from this.

  TonyV 23:40 19 Jan 2010

There are all sorts of disasters that occur, some slow and some instantaneous, yet aid, in terms of resources for rescue and help in providing some form of temporary accommodation for those affected, are the first things that should be got off the ground. This sort of aid could be flown out to these sort of areas pretty quickly, equally so, the provider of the aid, no matter who, could also provide a small body of people, possibly military personnel, to oversee the distribution in the short term.

It is painfully obvious that the aid going in to Haiti will be required for some considerable time, but it doesn't detract from my earlier comments that "the media" circus can get to these places in super quick time, and to a degree, must make the people affected by the disaster feel a wee bit anti toward them if they are seen to be housed in what ever accommodation is available to them in the affected area.

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