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Sunday, January 23, 2005

"UN Logistics": Another Oxymoron

What important fact is buried in this AP article's lead?
An American admiral dismissed fears that the U.S. military is ending its relief effort for tsunami victims too soon, as a U.N. agency delivered aid on its own for the first time Sunday- a sign of civilian groups preparing to fill the gap as militaries pull out.
"...as a UN agency delivered aid on its own for the first time Sunday..."
On Sunday, a 400-ton landing vessel carrying World Food Program aid was due to arrive in Aceh's coastal Calang city, said program spokesman Gerald Bourke - the first time the U.N. agency has used its own ship to deliver aid in the disaster. Thousands of victims are at a makeshift camp among the ruins of the destroyed city.
Suffering succotash! It's been almost 4 weeks and this is the first UN boat load of aid? I've been critical of the UN's slowness in getting mobilized and their seeming inability to grasp the concept that the area most affected by the tsunami were on the coast (see here, here, here, here, here (January 1: "Egeland said the United Nations needs cargo airplanes, 100 boats, several hundred trucks, 10 fully equipped base camps with staff support for the aid personnel and water treatment units." I said, "Really, it has taken them a week to figure this out?"), here, here, here, here, and here (which points out on January 13, over two weeks after the disaster, the UN announced:
Overloading of the air routes and land routes has resulted in UNJLC assessing the potential for greater utilization of sea routes. The implications for loading/off loading are being investigated; especially given the substantial assets on offer for sea based transport/offloading (landing craft)).
I guess it took them another 10 days to figure out what any sentient creature could see by looking at a map - there's a lot of water around these beach areas that were hit by the tsunami. I guess the people who received aid from the US, Australian, Singapore and other naval and sea (update: and air) forces ought to be counting their blessings that they were not waiting on the UN to get its act together. Many of them would be dead.

Update: The Diplomad provides a lengthy list of what the US was doing while the UN was "assessing" or whatever.

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