Two years ago — knowing that the ancient city of Kathmandu sat on a fault line teetering on a catastrophic slip — Nepalese and international disaster officials gathered to plan how they would respond to a massive earthquake.
Among other provisions, they mapped out all the open spaces where shelters could be set up and how basic services, such as food and medical aid, would be provided.
But even with the best-laid plans, disaster management experts say crises like Saturday’s earthquake tend to be followed by organizational chaos, including a lack of co-ordination and even clashes between local authorities and international agencies, as well as the arrival of some NGOs that, while well-intentioned, really have no business being there.
Take the example of Haiti, the Caribbean nation ravaged in 2010 by an earthquake that claimed more than 220,000 lives. A blistering report found that the international response “followed the same…
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