On the prospect of a regional alert system
On the UN's response
The Indonesian Government's suppression of the Guerilla movement in Aceh
More on Aceh
Ashutosh Sheshabalaya, on India's overlooked role in providing immediate military aid in Sri Lanka
I know I'm not particularly qualified to talk about these things, but it's an interesting challenge (and a nice change) to do this kind of thing every so often. The students asked good, and difficult questions, many of which involve the structure of disaster relief funding at the UN. For instance, how much do they have budgeted for this annually? What are the prospects of creating a permanent UN "Rapid response team" that is specialized for natural disasters?
It's difficult to have a discussion of the Tsunami this fall without thinking of the South Asian Earthquake, so we talked about that too -- with emphasis on the insufficient aid response. We even got into a bit of discussion on the Avian Flu vaccine issue (containing any outbreak of human to human transmissible Avian Flu would require massive international coordination).
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And I'm participating in a public seminar at Lehigh on the Earthquake at lunch today (yes -- a busy week!). For that, I'm not going to present an argument (hard to think of anything original to say), but I am offering a slideshow of photos culled from the web, some of them from News sources, and some from amateur photos Flickr.
A working draft of the slideshow is here (6 MB Powerpoint file). Educational use only, please (I will be taking the PPT file down after a few days.)
I tried to balance newsy/informative photos with more emotional photos showing people reacting to events. I was hoping to organize the photos to tell some kind of story, but there are just too many things going on at once, including: raw human suffering; rampant destruction of buildings, roads, and bridges; the large-scale relief effort; political shenanigans; as well as scenes of everyday life as it continues (and must continue) for the people in the affected region.
So the photos are a little chaotic (no single narrative), but perhaps the chaos might be useful in challenging the mass-media's approach to natural disaster -- which tends to emphasize sensationalism (look at these poor people!) at the expense of analysis.