I would like to clarify some points arising from last week's news story Looting fears stopped poor fleeing disaster on the situation in New Orleans. The article gave the impression that we would be unwilling to provide assistance.
The over-riding priority is to meet the needs of those who are suffering from this terrible calamity. As a humanitarian organisation, RedR-IHE is committed to making available the expertise required to do this anywhere in the world including the USA.
However, given the huge resources available within the US, it is unlikely that a significant amount of external humanitarian expertise will be required. It is also the case that there continues to be huge humanitarian need in other parts of the world, where external assistance is very much needed.
Clearly there are lessons from the response to the hurricane. Learning those lessons will involve some calm and thoughtful reflection, the willingness to learn from other parts of the world and the will to implement the necessary changes. Attention will need to be paid to social and environmental issues, not just to technical matters.
Bobby Lambert, chief executive, RedR-IHE, 1 Great George St, London SW1P 3AA