Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Are Foreign Rescue Teams in Disaster Zones Showboaters?

Are Foreign Rescue Teams in Disaster Zones Showboaters?

Most of you might have seen pictures of impressively dressed rescue teams from western countries on their way to help Japan in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami-earthquake. The media spares no effort in presenting these people as ‘genuine’ heroes.

I, however, see them as showboaters.

Here is my explanation-

1. Most people trapped in fallen buildings or swept in the ocean WILL die within two days, if they are not rescued by then. While a few lucky ones might survive for longer, the majority require immediate rescue by locals.

2. The average time to suit up a white team, take publicity shots and pretend to help takes over 48 hours. Therefore the vast majority of victims cannot possibly benefit from the impressive gear and uniforms.

3. Unless they have experience working with similar equipment, terrain, structures or can understand the local language- their presence is a liability to the host nation.

4. In contrast to such showboaters, western countries seldom offer genuinely useful assistance such as bottled water, autonomous water purification systems, antibiotics, medical supplies, MRE type food items, LED flashlights.. heck even batteries.

To summarize my rant- western countries aid to disaster stricken places is mostly showboating. It is about vigorously stroking your ego, rather than doing anything truly useful.


  1. Meme
    March 14, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Do you think they even mean well or its just for publicity straight from the get-go?

  2. Ray Manta
    March 15, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Do you think they even mean well or its just for publicity straight from the get-go?

    Hard to say. Even if they have good intentions, they should understand what the road to hell is paved with. Unless foreign relief workers are actually useful, they should stay the hell out.

  3. jim
    March 15, 2011 at 6:36 am

    I agree that they are showboaters. Japan was as well prepared as they could have been and they have good people and procedures that can handle it. I was watching the cbc news in Canada and the guy in charge of foreign aid was saying that the Japanese were so well prepared/on the ball that he didn’t want to send people over there that would just get in their way. He offered up a local medical facility that Canada runs (don’t remember where it was) and all its equipment/medicine and if they wanted any manpower, he would send them over. Funny thing was that the Canadian aid guy wasn’t white, he was of Indian descent.

  4. jim
    March 15, 2011 at 6:46 am

    I also remember when the Mumbai terrorist attack happened, watching cnn showing the American tactical team being suited up and on the tarmac ready to go. The president offered their tactical teams up to help. I thought that this doesn’t make sense unless they think the siege would last half a week. How are they going to even get over there fast enough. I thought it was just arrogant western superiority thinking that poor brown people don’t know how to handle such things (it’s not like they’ve been fighting terrorist insurgents for the last 20 years in Kashmir). Add showboating to the list.

  5. almost 40 yoV
    March 16, 2011 at 5:10 am

    The German THW(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technisches_Hilfswerk) sent over a 41 strong contingent of earthquake search & rescue teams. Those are not for show.

    Though, to be honest, after 100 hours most of them have withdrawn and left only small a contingent consulting the German embassy. Partly because of no real rescue chances but mainly the fallout situation endangering their own lives.

  6. huh
    March 20, 2011 at 5:50 am
  1. March 20, 2011 at 9:52 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: