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three big earthquakes and American responses

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For academic discussion, let's play the devil's advocate by comparing the three big earthquakes: the big earthquake in Szechuan, China a few years ago, the Haiti earthquake and Chile earthquake a few months ago.

What would you have observed in the different levels of American involvement in the humanitarian support for these three disaster-stricken areas within these three countries?

Would the differences raise any of the concerns about the American political agenda in the humanitarian support for these three separate natural disasters?

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Based on what I have observed in the different levels of American involvement in the humanitarian support for these three disaster-stricken areas within these three countries, it seems like America's political gain in Haiti seems more rife than in Chile where the government is stable or in China where the government is definitely one of our competitors. Of course we want to ...

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Recent three big earthquakes and American responses are briefly summarized from a personal vantage point.

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Katrina: Grasping for Relief

Please help me so I can complete the following:

For this assignment you will need to read the case study article presented below. You may also need to conduct some online and/or library research to enrich your knowledge of the subject to design a research study to confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis of this article.

Develop a one to two page paper in which you state which research method you would use to determine where and how this governmental breakdown occurred. Be sure to include the following:

Define the problem
Identify the hypothesis of the article
Identify an appropriate research method
Speculate on what the findings of such a proposed study might demonstrate
Case Study Article
As night begins to fall, fear seems to seep out of the stagnant water filling the city. The thousands trapped here on dry ground edge closer together. Families who will spend the night sitting in chairs hauled out of ruined bars and restaurants huddle around young women and children as the light fades.
- National Geographic, December 2005

The above quote from a National Geographic article is about the breakdown of government in meeting its social responsibilities to its citizens after Hurricane Katrina. This article is one author's subjective and anecdotal account of what happened. Read this article and respond to the directions above.


When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, a world accustomed to global projections of American power-including international relief efforts after such disasters as the 2004 Asian tsunami and the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran-witnessed that same power reduced to impotence.

Certainly what happened later was more comforting. In the month after Katrina devastated a swath of Louisiana and Mississippi (with Rita not far behind) tens of billions of dollars of emergency aid appropriations were rushed through Congress. Convoys of aid flowed south. People pledged over a billion dollars to the Red Cross.

But the fact that the nation's aid mechanisms eventually seemed to get on track doesn't erase the disgrace of the first week after the storm, when people without food or water suffered and died in a major metropolitan area and when government emergency managers and aid organizations couldn't deliver relief. Katrina behaved exactly like the monster storm scientists and local officials knew would one day drown New Orleans (they'd even practiced with a model storm a year before). The death trap the Big Easy was allowed to become is likely to redound to the U.S.'s discredit for years.

Labor Day morning in Houston (seven days after Katrina) saw volunteers jammed elbow to elbow behind steam tables, shoveling eggs, sausage, and potatoes. There were so many people helping that the effort to feed the quiet, traumatized people from flooded New Orleans, bused to shelter at the city's convention center, seemed almost like a competition. One American city was trying desperately to rescue another. Red Cross officials on local talk radio begged Houstonites to stop bringing food donations to the major shelters because they were blocking giant aid shipments from local corporations. A frustrated restaurateur trying to get 500 pizzas to displaced children in the Astrodome couldn't find a way to deliver them.

I'd just arrived in Houston from New Orleans. As I waited to check in at my downtown hotel, I met a refugee whose family had, that morning, been helped by a wealthy woman to move from a shelter into a brace of suites at the hotel. The family was now preparing to move to two apartments-the first few months rent paid for by the same woman.

Hearing that story was like breathing clean air for the first time in days. I had driven alone from New Orleans, but the disgust and sadness at what I had seen there felt like passengers in the truck with me. People go to jail, I kept thinking as I drove west on 1-10, for keeping animals in conditions the same as those endured by tens of thousands of people trapped for days at the Superdome and the Convention Center in New Orleans.

I'd had my first glimpse of rescue gone awry on Friday, September 2, as I drove over the Mississippi River into downtown New Orleans. I saw a pickup headed in the opposite direction on the bridge, its cab and bed packed with perhaps a dozen men, women, and children. The pickup pulled a bass boat similarly loaded with human cargo. To me, the entourage looked like an extended family of African Americans trying to escape the metro area. Gas, food, and lodging were all available about 30 miles west.

The police on the bridge acted like the group was a potential raiding party intent on sacking Gretna, a suburb just across the bridge. "Turn it around!" a plainclothes police officer shouted as he strode purposefully toward the slowly approaching truck. The driver brought the truck to a halt and pleaded his family's case. "TURN IT AROUND-NOW!" the officer bellowed. Several others, heavily armed, stepped up, and the driver got the message. Nearby a couple slumped against a concrete traffic barrier next to a supply-laden grocery cart they'd been trying to push over the bridge until they, too, had been turned back.

Later I saw what the people on the bridge had been trying unsuccessfully to escape. The Convention Center-now four days after the hurricane-was a kaleidoscope of human degradation festering in the late summer heat.

People had been pouring into the building since Monday. It was not until Thursday that soldiers had dumped food and water from hovering helicopters. "It's the looters breaking into stores and bringing food and water that have kept us alive," said a man named Brandon Jackson.

On Friday afternoon a late-model Chrysler barreled around the corner from Julia Street and headed south on Convention Center Boulevard. It jerked to a stop in front of the building, and a young man with cornrow braids wearing a giant T-shirt and baggy jeans stepped out. A young woman who rode in with him threw open the trunk, which was filled with crates of orange drink. As people from the crowd swarmed the car, she shouted that the delivery was specifically for women with young children. Where, someone asked the driver-who at that moment was eyeing a Humvee full of heavily armed National Guardsmen who had arrived that morning, apparently not to help people but to guard them-did the juice come from? The young man shrugged and said, "Mmm, just found it."

It would be reported later that domestic and international aid shipments and professional relief workers had been stuck in airports and hotels and idling in trucks while government bureaucrats discussed how to deploy resources. The American Red Cross, meanwhile, had been ordered by the Department of Homeland security to stay out of New Orleans. The more unpleasant the city was, the reasoning went, the more residents would want to leave-never mind if they had no way to do so.

For now, the young man and young woman were the only humanitarian aid I could see in post-Katrina New Orleans.

I wanted to ask them if they'd heard about the Louisiana governor's shootto-kill order, delivered the previous day after news reports of thugs ruling the streets and looters stripping abandoned stores of TVs. I'd been told that the local police, at least, were looking the other way when people scavenged for necessities. Still, I wouldn't have wanted to be in the shoes of a young black man in baggy attire in an abandoned store. But he and the girl jumped in the car and were gone before I could ask the question.

HOPING FOR HELP Vera Smith's body lay for days on the New Orleans sidewalk where she died, killed by a hit-and-run driver. Neighbors covered the great-grandmother's remains with a makeshift tomb of tarp-covered dirt and bricks. Estelle Dowl (below), daughter Cayla, and son Nathaniel waded through floodwaters to the Superdome, a "shelter of last resort."
FIRSTRESPONSE Even with many of their own homes and three-fourths of the city's firehouses underwater, New Orleans firefighters struggled to protect their neighbors-like this elderly woman rescued from ·. her home. Emergency plans projected that after a major hurricane, firefighters would have to function without outside help for as long as 72 hours. "Our guys," department chief Charles Parent said, "went way beyond that."

War, natural disaster, and economic collapse have all forced Americans from their homes in the past, but never have so many been displaced so quickly. The dots below show numbers of evacuees in Red Cross shelters-or in hotel rooms paid for by the Red Cross-a month after Katrina.
HUNGRY, THIRSTY, FRANTIC New Orleans survivors rushed toward a military helicopter near the Convention Center (above), hoping to catch a dropped carton of emergency meals or bottles of water. Outside the Superdome (below) arguments erupted as residents jostled to reach buses that would carry them away from their ravaged city.
AID AND COMFORT Seventeen-year-old Texan Amanda Fowler (above, at left) gathered 16-yearold Louisiana evacuee Charleetha Lawrence into a prayerful embrace during a Sunday service at Faith Crossing Church near Dallas. In hard-hit Waveland, Mississippi, hurricane survivors waited in long lines to collect food and other necessities from relief stockpiles (below).

ALONG WAY FROM HOME Hilda Grain was evacuated from New Orleans to Houston's Astrodome, then moved into a vacant unit in a senior-citizens apartment complex. A hurricane housing task force and a local utility promised to cover many evacuees' rent and electric bills for as long as six months. What happens when the aid runs out? For many of Katrina's victims, the future remains dauntingly uncertain.
EXPERIENCE A POST-KATRINA RESCUE Join NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC writer Chris Carroll on one family's long, difficult journey from New Orleans to Fort Smith, Arkansas, at ngm.com/0512.

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