After a slow start, it sounds like things are improving in Chile. I was struck, reading this report in the Ties, that DHL actually has a “director of humanitarian affairs” – that’s sort of neat.
Some disaster veterans say Chile’s disaster response has been remarkable, largely avoiding bureaucratic infighting and quickly patching up the international airport and main north-south highway to keep aid flowing.
”Could FEMA have done that?” said Chris Weeks, director of humanitarian affairs for the DHL delivery company, referring to the U.S. government’s disaster agency.
Weeks, the leader of a group of DHL volunteers who organize airport aid deliveries in major disasters worldwide, said, ”These Chileans are such can-do people. … I’ve seen damaged bridges with big metal slabs covering the gaps. If that were the States they would close the bridges for two months while structural engineers figured out if you could cross.”
Chileans also are helping themselves: Complementing Chile’s intensive military aid, volunteers have appeared all over to deliver clothes and food, and a national telethon collected $58 million Saturday — twice what organizers hoped for.