Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 5, 2015

Humanitarian Logistics in Nepal: Number 2

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on May 5, 2015

Logistics Conops_May 4

United Nations, World Food Program, Logistics Cluster, Concept of Operations

The death toll is now over 7000 and continuing to climb.

The May 4 OCHA Situation Report notes,  that 1.4 million people have been prioritized for immediate food support. “Distribution of a total of 2,094 metric tons (MT) of food has begun across 15 districts. Since 29 April, some 52,000 tarpaulins have been distributed in 29 districts while an additional 234,161 tarpaulins are en route to Nepal.”  The monsoon season typically begins in late May/early June.  According to the most recent updates, over 191,000 homes were destroyed and more than 175,000 were damaged.

As the map above shows, the international   community is attempting to reduce the current dependence on the air-hub at Kathmandu. The Conops released yesterday notes, “The foremost objective of the Logistics Cluster in Nepal is to support the Government-led response by coordinating with International and National NGOs, the UN system and the Private Sector in order to optimize logistics efforts, and hence, the delivery of various humanitarian assistance programmes.”

Sounds reliably bureaucratic and almost meaningless.  But especially in Nepal, the implications of “Government-led” may tee-up one of the principal impediments to effective humanitarian logistics and supply chain recovery.  Here’s the close of an editorial in yesterday’s Kathmandu Post:

With few exceptions, the state has so far performed miserably in the aftermath of the earthquake. While there is a real need to not undermine state authority, and indeed to build state capacity, it must be made clear that rebuilding/strengthening a feudal state is not the goal. The feudal legacy embedded in an antiquated bureaucracy and reinforced by a political elite centered on power and its preservation, must be fiercely critiqued and resisted by all citizens. Prioritisation of the lives of citizens—not the policing of restrictive rules in a time of emergency—should be central. The expedient delivery of relief materials from the airport and other locations to citizens in need must take precedence.   

Reuters has a good overview of some important mitigation measures that were taken before the earthquake.

The Hindustan Times has a helpful round-up of critiques and counters regarding “official” preparedness for and response to the quake.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

May 5, 2015 @ 6:36 am

WOW! Editorial seems right on to me. But time for nation-state building before not after the earthquake IMO. And it does appear that governmental response capability severely damages by the earthquake. Also massive landslides make this earthquake in the mountain fastness of NEPAL very difficult to effectuate response.

Did you know that NEPAL is one of the most environmentally damaged nation-states largely due to logging off hillsides to add to arable land? Try imaging HAITI with the highest mountains on PLANET EARTH?

Two nation-states down from natural disasters [actually the built environment of humans occupying areas subject to the vicissitudes of MOTHER NATURE and almost no governmental recognition of those hazards] and only about 200 more to go including a woefully unprepared USA that relies on foolishly spending money to bail out its corruption and official ignorance of engineering and science operating in the natural environment.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 5, 2015 @ 6:44 am

Wikipedia extract:

A nation state is a geographical area that can be identified as deriving its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign nation. A state is a political and geopolitical entity, while a nation is a cultural and ethnic one. The term “nation state” implies that the two coincide, but “nation state” formation can take place at different times in different parts of the world.

The concept of a nation state can be compared and contrasted with that of the multinational state, city state, empire, confederation, and other state formations with which it may overlap. The key distinction is the identification of a people with a polity in the “nation state.”

1 History and origins
2 Before the nation state
3 Characteristics of the nation state
4 The nation state in practice
5 Exceptional cases
5.1 United Kingdom
5.2 Kingdom of the Netherlands
5.3 Israel
5.4 Pakistan
6 Minorities
7 Irredentism
8 Future
8.1 Clash of civilizations
9 Historiography
10 See also
11 References
11.1 Notes
11.2 External links

History and origins

Main article: Nation
The origins and early history of nation states are disputed. A major theoretical question is: “Which came first, the nation or the nation state?” Professor Steven Weber of the University of California, Berkeley, has advanced the hypothesis that the nation state is an inadvertent byproduct of 15th-century advances in map-making technologies.[5][6] For others, the nation existed first, then nationalist movements arose for sovereignty, and the nation state was created to meet that demand. Some “modernization theories” of nationalism see it as a product of government policies to unify and modernize an already existing state. Most theories see the nation state as a 19th-century European phenomenon, facilitated by developments such as state-mandated education, mass literacy and mass media. However, historians[who?] also note the early emergence of a relatively unified state and identity in Portugal and the Dutch Republic.

In France, Eric Hobsbawm argues, the French state preceded the formation of the French people. Hobsbawm considers that the state made the French nation, not French nationalism, which emerged at the end of the 19th century, the time of the Dreyfus Affair. At the time of the 1789 French Revolution, only half of the French people spoke some French, and 12-13% spoke it “fairly”, according to Hobsbawm.

During the Italian unification, the number of people speaking the Italian language was even lower. The French state promoted the unification of various dialects and languages into the French language. The introduction of conscription and the Third Republic’s 1880s laws on public instruction, facilitated the creation of a national identity, under this theory.

Some nation states, such as Germany or Italy, came into existence at least partly as a result of political campaigns by nationalists, during the 19th century. In both cases, the territory was previously divided among other states, some of them very small. The sense of common identity was at first a cultural movement, such as in the Völkisch movement in German-speaking states, which rapidly acquired a political significance. In these cases, the nationalist sentiment and the nationalist movement clearly precede the unification of the German and Italian nation states.

Historians Hans Kohn, Liah Greenfeld, Philip White and others have classified nations such as Germany or Italy, where cultural unification preceded state unification, as ethnic nations or ethnic nationalities. Whereas ‘state-driven’ national unifications, such as in France, England or China, are more likely to flourish in multiethnic societies, producing a traditional national heritage of civic nations, or territory-based nationalities. Some authors deconstruct the distinction between ethnic nationalism and civic nationalism because of the ambiguity of the concepts. They argue that the paradigmatic case of Ernest Renan is an idealisation and it should be interpreted within the German tradition and not in opposition to it. For example, they argue that the arguments used by Renan at the conference What is a nation? are not consistent with his thinking. This alleged civic conception of the nation would be determined only by the case of the loss gives Alsace and Lorraine in the Franco-Prussian War.

The idea of a nation state was and is associated with the rise of the modern system of states, often called the “Westphalian system” in reference to the Treaty of Westphalia (1648). The balance of power, which characterized that system, depended on its effectiveness upon clearly defined, centrally controlled, independent entities, whether empires or nation states, which recognize each other’s sovereignty and territory. The Westphalian system did not create the nation state, but the nation state meets the criteria for its component states (by assuming that there is no disputed territory).

The nation state received a philosophical underpinning in the era of Romanticism, at first as the ‘natural’ expression of the individual peoples (romantic nationalism: see Johann Gottlieb Fichte’s conception of the Volk, later opposed by Ernest Renan). The increasing emphasis during the 19th century on the ethnic and racial origins of the nation, led to a redefinition of the nation state in these terms.[9] Racism, which in Boulainvilliers’s theories was inherently antipatriotic and antinationalist, joined itself with colonialist imperialism and “continental imperialism”, most notably in pan-Germanic and pan-Slavic movements.

The relation between racism and ethnic nationalism reached its height in the 20th century fascism and Nazism. The specific combination of ‘nation’ (‘people’) and ‘state’ expressed in such terms as the Völkische Staat and implemented in laws such as the 1935 Nuremberg laws made fascist states such as early Nazi Germany qualitatively different from non-fascist nation states. Minorities were not considered part of the people (Volk), and were consequently denied to have an authentic or legitimate role in such a state. In Germany, neither Jews nor the Roma were considered part of the people, and were specifically targeted for persecution. German nationality law defined ‘German’ on the basis of German ancestry, excluding all non-Germans from the people.

In recent years, a nation state’s claim to absolute sovereignty within its borders has been much criticized. A global political system based on international agreements and supra-national blocs characterized the post-war era. Non-state actors, such as international corporations and non-governmental organizations, are widely seen as eroding the economic and political power of nation states, potentially leading to their eventual disappearance.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 5, 2015 @ 6:53 am


Question? What do maps have to do with HS and EM?

I would argue that GIS is causing a revolution in HS and EM largely however below the horizon!


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