CBC radio has been covering the Haitian earthquake disaster around the clock. For the past two or three days, one of the most discussed talking-head topics was the seemingly slow response by the international community in physically importing aid into the country. Aside from the tiny airport and minimal port facilities, one commentator mentioned that coordination between the dozens/hundreds of private/NGO/governments in providing relief was quite poor. The chain of command is shaky, or non-existent. The UN, in conjunction with local government is probably suppose to act as a headquarters/coordination entity in such events, yet with the Haitian government in ruins and the UN HQ in a similar state
It seems with large natural disasters becoming annual event that hit the most vulnerable countries, it might be time to develop a dedicated international disaster response organization that would form a command hierarchy that all aid/rescue/security groups would fall under and take orders from. It wouldn’t be a standing disaster response army, but rather a command&control unit delegated with the task of efficiently moving and allocating international resources throughout the affected area. There would be no maverick organizations or individuals in the disaster area. While the Sichuan EQ in 2008 is not a very good comparison, one of the issues affecting response was the flood of well-intentioned, yet naive volunteers into Beichuan.
Obviously there would be sovereignty issues and command concerns regarding military units (the US armed forces usually doesn’t place it’s troops under non-US command).
Maybe there already is something like this.
Interactive before and after satellite images.