“If we wait for the UN to tell us what to do, we wouldn’t do anything,” said Abdul Hadi bin e Rashid, first admiral of the Malaysian navy at the country’s operations tent at Banda Aceh airport.
Michael Elmquist, head of the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Assistance in Indonesia, admitted the UN’s response had encountered difficulties, but added it was poised to accelerate rapidly.
“In Banda Aceh, it has been very difficult to establish a well- co-ordinated relief operation,” he said.
Mr Elmquist attributed the delays to five key factors: the sheer destruction and number of people killed, including three of the UN’s nine local staff; lack of telecommunications in the early days; a lack of truck drivers and fuel; the obliteration of the local government; and Aceh’s troubled history.
Maybe, next catastrophic disaster, before the UN starts complaining about the US slighting them, they should make sure that they are up for the job.