Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague and currently Senior Fellow for Global Health
Council on Foreign Relations, has written a cogent analysis
of what we can expect to see in the Gulf in the coming weeks. People, get ready -- there's more suffering on the way. She also talks about the relationship between trusting the government and the efficacy of evacuation.
See more Garrett inside.
Garrett begins by discussing the media coverage of the disaster, noting how quickly the focus shifted to looting and the call for law and order -- and how public opinion and focus can affect what happens on the ground.
Then, she talks about the convergence of poverty and distrust for the government. What happens when people without resources get orders from a group they don't trust anyway? Nothing good. As Garrett says, "In our experience dealing with catastrophes and epidemics overseas, there is a DIRECT correlation between the historic relationship between government and its people, and the willingness of the populace to believe in and correctly respond to government instructions. Of course tens of thousands of people failed to evacuate: why believe the government this time?"
Garrett goes on to talk about the lack of information among the people most afflicted by the disaster, and about their impression that there's no leadership -- or, at least, when their only experience of leadership comes from the barrel of a M16.
Looking forward, Garrett predicts more problems/after-effects. These include:
* Infectious microbial diseases
* Nasty gastrointestinal organisms
* Sewage. "The longer the region goes without proper
systems for control of human waste, the greater the probability of
transmission not only of cholera, but a long list of dysentery and
* Pharmaceutical supplies
* Victims' mental health
* A political backlash from the African-American community
* Trauma suffered by the rescuers
This is a piece worth reading. My apologies if this is a duplicate, but Garrett's name didn't pop up recently in the search results. If it's already been posted, I'm happy to delete. (And a hat tip to Boing Boing for finding Garrett's analysis.)