A lot of people are starting to complain about the pace of the hurricane relief effort. I don’t know enough about disaster relief to be sure (and I don’t want to make excuses for any screw-ups) but I suspect that the agonizingly slow pace is nevertheless incredibly fast, given the scale of the operation.
Here’s a thought I had that gave me some perspective:
My wife’s company is moving their offices this week. After weeks of planning and preparation, moving an office of about 15 people to new quarters 10 miles away is going to take two days.
The hurricane only struck four days ago.
The evacuation of New Orleans alone will move 10,000 times as many people a much greater distance. And the roads are flooded. And there’s no electrical power, no running water, no gas stations, no restaurants, no stores selling supplies, and no telephones. And people are shooting at them.
Disaster relief is hard. If it were quick and easy, people could do it for themselves, and we wouldn’t be calling it a disaster.