Saturday, January 23, 2010

Those Who Can...Do

I've been overwhelmed lately with all of the news coming out of Haiti. Some of the rescues have been amazing and I look on in what has become a detached sort of way. The news reporting has bothered me from a particular aspect. One reporter spoke about how someone came to him begging for water and he felt badly that he could not give this person any. Why not? The reporter didn't appear dehydrated or malnourished and so his words bothered me. Perhaps it was just the way he said them, but I pictured the news crews, who, although they are obviously roughing it, have parent companies like CNN, FOX or MSNBC seeing to their basic needs. Most likely, they have food, water, tents, cots, porta-potties, toilet paper, etc. You get the picture. I find it hard to believe they're going with as little as the earthquake survivors seem to be. Some of the stories the news stations have shown are exploitative to a degree and if I see one more TV personality doctor working only with his mouth, and not the skills he has been trained in, I think I'll scream. While they're reporting, there are suffering human beings who need those skills.

Because I've donated to MSF, the agency sent me one doctor's slide show, and watching this, a clearer and more emotional picture of the utter devastation is laid bare.

Next pay day, they'll be getting another donation from me because I've no doubt they're sharing what they have--even if all they have is technical skill. Though the photos still trouble me, I feel hope when I see the work they do. It can't be easy and on top of all of the thoughts and prayers I send out to the people of Haiti, I'm adding all of the relief workers to my prayers, too. Their burden must surely be heavy.


Winifred said...

It is a terrible tragedy. You do wonder why those news reporters can't just share what they have. Even if they just had a single bottle of water why not give it away. I'm sure they could get another.

Makes you think they have no feelings of compassion, they;re only there to gawp and pass it on.

Miss 376 said...

I couldn't believe it this morning when one of the BBC reporters was critiscised for taking someone to get urgent medical attention! Seems sometimes they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Surely basic humanity would mean that if someone is in desperate need, you'd do something to help

Brenda said...

I didn't see that, but wow....shame on them! I watched some news last night and felt kind of good about seeing how much help they are getting. There is just so much that needs to be done it is so overwhelming. I guess I just tuned into the good part of the news and didn't see what you saw. Reporters always seem to see things differently than we do. They think of the story first and everything else second.

Rose said...

Thank you for nudging me in the right direction. I signed up for a monthly donation to MSF.

Rositta said...

I saw the tv personality doctor and his camera crew stay all night with seriously wounded patients when the doctors from Belgium left for fear of "security issues". I also heard (if it's the same doctor) that he performed some neuro surgery on a young child. About the water, didn't see that but I'm thinking from what I've seen that if said reporter gives away a bottle of water he'd immediately be surrounded by hundreds more people looking for water. I watched as a Nun driving a food truck was over run by people and she had to drive away. The CNN crew went in through the Dominican with their supplies and if they give them away they probably wouldn't get any through regular routes. They've all been told to be self sufficient. I generally don't defend MSM but in this instance the more real stuff they show the more money will come. Haiti was a disaster before this, just Google U.S. invasion of Haiti, 1994 with a poor exit strategy leaving Haiti in very poor shape. If the media don't continue keeping this front and centre, donations will dry up just like with the Tsunami. Out of sight out of mind, just my view...ciao

Rositta said...

One more thing, I'm so friggin mad at how this entire thing was handled start to finish. The Canadians had two planes on the ground the next morning with food, water purification systems and medicine. The UN is absolutely useless and needs to be disbanded and the Americans took over control of the airport and were more worried about "securing and assessing" than providing immediate aid. Lots of people didn't have to die. They were flying empty helicopters to assess. Reminds me a little of Katrina, sorry...ciao

SkippyMom said...

I think everyone should stop being so quick to judge unless you are IN Haiti and commenting from there.

Did anyone ever stop to think that maybe the reporter didn't give up his ONE bottle of water because it could've started a riot?

Or that the doctor was doing the best he could by speaking of the hold up on supplies and lack of ability to help people because MAYBE that might be the best way to utilize himself at this point.

I am not trying to be mean or start a fight - Rudee you know me, I am pretty low key and happy - but we simply don't know. We aren't there and to pass judgement on people that are doing their jobs to the best of their abilities [from what I can see] doesn't seem altogether fair.

Haiti was in dire straits before the earthquake hit - the fact that their infrastructure [government] is gone should be the first clue that there is a heck of a lot more work to do to get things moving.

As for everything sitting on the tarmacs at the airports does everyone understand that the roads are impassable? That is the problem with getting the aid/food/water to people. WHOLE buildings fell on the roads...they aren't going to be cleared in a day. Besides their roads aren't like ours in the US and CAN. This is a third world country. It is going to take time. The goods are there - the ability to distribute is not. They are doing the best they can.

Then again, this is just my opinion and another side of the coin.

Rudee said...

I tire of the exploitative interviews and commentary. I do understand it's horrendous and found this doctor's video very moving. That's all I'm saying here.

It's disheartening to watch day after day.

Anonymous said...

I agree a lot of good is going on but the media all have their on agenda when reporting. MSF is a great avenue to go through. I am going through Catholic Charities, someone I trust. I have worked with them on a lot of projects. Last year we did laundry baskets full of supplies for new refugees coming into the country into Louisville from where I don't even remember. We set up all cleaning and personal supplies for their apartments. You are a good woman Rudee.

Anonymous said...

I'm very bothered by the reporter "who had no water to share".. It's inconceivable to me.. Having trouble wrapping my brain around it.

debra said...

We've donated to msf for years. They go everywhere with no political agenda. Health care is a right rather than a privilege, I think.
what is the balance between reporting and exploitation? Would people have donated w/o the pictures and stories. As SkippyMom said, we just don't know.
And I guess I don't need to know. I watch very little TV and will continue to do so. And I will continue to support MSF.

Flutterby said...

MSF doctors have been my heroes for years.

Devon said...

What is going on in Haiti is overwhelming due to the sheer suffering. It always seems in these situations that getting help and supplies to the devastated areas is a logistical nightmare.

My hubby has been on a FEMA urban search and rescue team for many years. He was flown into newyork on sept. 11th and his team was set to fly to Hatai... they sat all packed for 3 days at the air base in California. They were finally called off.

The reason was there was no way to get the team the support they needed... camp set up, fuel for equipment, food and water. They would be out of everything in 72 hours and the teams are big, about 80 people. How frustrating to be able to help and not be allowed to do your job! The teams from Virginia and Los Angeles made dozens of rescues... just wondering how many more could have been saved!

Winifred said...

From what I saw reported sadly many of the UN staff who would have been on the ground co-ordinating the work were killed. So it's unfair to criticise the UN.

The US has come in for some criticism but it's easy to do that. Also the infrastructure in Haiti just isn't there which makes things very difficult.

All we can do is provide support and pray that they're successful in helping as many people as they can.

Ruth said...

Haiti was a basket case before the earthquake - now it is just a overwhelming tragedy.All we can do is support organisations like MSF that were there before and will be there in the long term. I give to MSF monthly they are truly non political and if I had different skills and a younger body would love to work for them somewhere.