Comparing Chile to FEMA

Many Chileans say it was too late, but their government did roll out a massive relief effort once the effects of last month’s earthquake had sunk in.

In an Associated Press article, Eva Vergara and Michael Warren say a poll published by the daily newspaper El Mercurio found that most Chileans are unhappy with how their government, specifically their President, responded to the country’s recent catastrophic earthquake. But aid experts found Chile’s massive disaster-recovery effort impressive.

According to the poll, 72 percent of Chileans found the government’s earthquake response late and inefficient. President Michelle Bachelet waited 36 hours before declaring a “state of catastrophe” and it took some communities two or three days to receive significant aid.

“But the government since then has rolled out a massive effort, deploying planes, ships, helicopters, trucks, heavy equipment and thousands of troops to deliver tons of aid flowing in from government storehouses, Chilean businesses and foreign governments and aid groups,” says the article.

Chris Weeks, director of humanitarian affairs for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security lauded Chile for avoiding delays often caused by bureaucracy and squabbling. Referring to Chile’s response, he said, “Could FEMA have done that?”

To read the Associated Press article, click here: