“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.
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“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.