Watching the response, or lack of it, during Hurricane Katrina's disastrous aftermath, I couldn't help but remember the response to one of the deadliest hurricanes ever, Hurricane Mitch in Central America. Mitch killed thousands, not by the force of its winds but by its deadly rains which triggered mudslides in the mountainous regions. (Yes, Larry King, mountains "stop hurricanes." But at a cost.) The U.S. was quick to send aid that time to its neighbor down south.
Now there's a heartbreaking piece in the New York Times about the devastation caused by Hurricane Stan, but I was struck by this paragraph:
The rain that wreaked havoc from southern Mexico to El Salvador this week continued falling in Guatemala's highlands on Saturday. Still, the government had begun to bulldoze its way through mud-covered highways to reach stranded communities to deliver food, water and medicine; to rescue survivors from dozens of villages that had disappeared beneath the mud; and then to begin the dreadful search for the dead.
It sounds like the response of a third world country has been faster than that of its superpower neighbor, the U.S., whose National Guard couldn't manage to get a convoy through highways that remained free of debris for almost a week.
I think we should all ask, what's Guatemala doing right that the U.S. could learn from?