Philippines Aid Piling Up on Runway

So it’s seems the vast majority of aid sent to the Philippines is thus far sitting on a runway in Cebu several hundred miles away from the people who need it.

The issue is that none of the affected areas have a runway long enough for anything other than military transports such as the C130 and few such planes are available.

Now the Disaster Emergency Committee (an umbrella group of 14 UK charities) is launching a UK appeal to raise funds for disaster relief for the Philippines.

However given the fact that the aid already in country will take a week or more to reach the affected people one has to wonder how the money raised in the UK today by the DEC will get to the people who need it.

If I was a cynic I might suggest that disaster’s like the Philippines represent a fantastic fund raising opportunity for charities such as the British Red Cross (who’s CEO is on a salary of £183,000 a year).

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10224104/30-charity-chiefs-paid-more-than-100000.html”]

Now these charities cannot be blamed for the state of the runway’s in the Philippines or other countries were disasters hit however these “charities” are the same ones who have spent considerable amounts of their donors money lobbying the UK government to not only increase foreign aid but also make sure that not a penny of that aid money can go to the British Military to help in such situations.

It will likely surprise many that only 15% of British government foreign aid goes on disaster relief with the bulk of the rest going on “development” projects.

Disaster’s such as the Philippines and before it Haiti, The Pakistan Earth Quake and the 2004 Tsunami prove that by far the most useful aid that can be delivered to countries in need is military aid. No other organisation other than the world’s militaries has the trained personnel or equipment to get relief supplies to the people who need it the most.

It makes absolutely no sense to me why the DFID in the UK cannot follow the example of every other country in Europe and share procurement and running costs for military assets that can be used for disaster relief such as transport aircraft, Amphibious Ship’s and helicopters.

The RAF has managed to send a single C17 which given the constraints of maintaining the air bridge with Afghanistan is probably about all we can muster. While this aircraft will prove vital it is a single plane and will make little difference for the estimated 11 million people in need of help.

So perhaps the next time the likes of Oxfam and the British Red Cross are lobbying the government against using the foreign aid budget to support military equipment they might spare a thought for who the hell is going to get their aid to the people that need it the most.

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Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 13, 2013 10:40 am

Maybe the DEC should use some of the money to lease some aircraft i.e. C130’s or similar to get supplies into the effected areas, or buy some plant equipment to help speed up the process of reopening roads, i’m sure much of the local stuff will have been damaged. Also why can’t they air drop supples, surely there are some US planes capable of this in Japan/Korea.

Chris
Chris
November 13, 2013 11:05 am

For 2003/4 I looked into published Gov’t accounts to see what sort of efficiency there might be, in terms of the departmental expenditure limits (DELs) and the departmental administration costs. The Chancellor’s Dep’t came off worse but then its function is to run civil service, but International development was a close second; if the entire budget for the year was their DEL, then 96.22% of their cash was spent on civil service admin, 3.78% left the department to go to schemes in the big wide world. With efficiency like that, paying cash to charities – even those with execs on obscene salaries – is much better value to those in need of help.

As for aircraft lease, in previous African disasters I thought the charities did indeed hire air transport (Antonov cargo planes) and bought used trucks that could be economically driven to destruction. Makes sense to me…

I did wonder when the deployment of a T-45 was announced whether it was the MOD or DfID that was picking up the bill. I think I can guess the answer.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
November 13, 2013 11:34 am

It’s emergencies like these that I would think the reserves would be very suited for, and may be easier for DEC to part fund.

It would be hard for any firm to refuse their reserve personnel to be called up for 6 months to help starving women and children, would not require specific training prior to mobilisation and would make good use of the cross over skills that that a lot of the reserves could bring to the party. Plus the invaluable experience of infrastructure resource management in an expeditionary setting.

It would be hard for DEC to argue not to part fund a reserve field hosp, Eng Sqn and Loggies unit for use in times like these, coupled with a part funded shipping and air contract.

Mike W
November 13, 2013 12:44 pm

“It makes absolutely no sense to me why the DFID in the UK cannot follow the example of every other country in Europe and share procurement and running costs for military assets that can be used for disaster relief such as transport aircraft, Amphibious Ship’s and helicopters.”

Well said, Martin. Agree with every word. But do you think it will happen? Will it hell! We suffer from an inertia in this country which at times is unbelievable.

So perhaps the next time the likes of Oxfam and the British Red Cross are lobbying the government against using the foreign aid budget to support military equipment they might spare a thought for who the hell is going to get their aid to the people that need it the most.

Yes, absolutely. Military infrastructure and movement are much more efficient.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
November 13, 2013 1:04 pm

If only we had some big aircraft, like airliners, that could handle palletised cargo like bottled water, which would free up the C-17 to do things like shifting trucks and/or helicopters. Eh.

x
x
November 13, 2013 1:33 pm

60 tons of water or 60 tons of reverse osmosis equipment?

El Sid
El Sid
November 13, 2013 1:41 pm

.B.
How would airliners help when “none of the affected areas have a runway long enough for anything other than military transports such as the C130“?

Mark
Mark
November 13, 2013 1:42 pm

Apparently Lessons learned from the tsunami and Haiti earthquake involving dfid and government response to such crisis.

Well doesn’t look like it to me the response has been far far to reactive instead of being proactive all these contingencies should have been in place tues a week ago.

Brian Black
Brian Black
November 13, 2013 2:04 pm

“aid already in country will take a week or more to reach the affected people one has to wonder how the money raised in the UK today by the DEC will get to the people who need it”

This is a major disaster, it’s not going to be sorted out in a few days time. It won’t become not worthwhile to help after just a week.

“If I was a cynic I might suggest that disaster’s like the Philippines represent a fantastic fund raising opportunity for charities such as the British Red Cross”

Disasters are fund raising opportunities, and while the need for assistance may continue for months or years after a major disaster, charities providing this assistance experience a substantial drop-off in donations very soon after the initial event.

“not a penny of that aid money can go to the British Military to help in such situations”

This isn’t correct. The MoD reclaims its exceptional costs for humanitarian operations from the DfID budget.

“The RAF has managed to send a single C17 which given the constraints of maintaining the air bridge with Afghanistan is probably about all we can muster”

And yet you complain about the rate that aid can be distributed once reaching the airport. There is likely to be coordination of aid imports by the Philippines emergency council, the UK will be cooperating with the country’s authorities.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 13, 2013 2:05 pm

The DFiD should be flying cargo via a commercial transport service to a suitable airport and then using military aircraft to take it the final stage to airfields that commercial aircraft can’t land at, I do hope the C17 isn’t flying to and from the UK.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
November 13, 2013 2:41 pm

@ El Sid,

Because you could have something like Voyager doing the runs with the stores while C-17 lifts in things like helicopters and other kit for the distribution aspect.

Mark
Mark
November 13, 2013 2:56 pm

Yep we could use voyager

http://www.airtanker.co.uk/about/aircraft

RAF Voyager is able to carry 111 tonnes of fuel without the requirement for additional fuel tanks which leave its’ cargo hold and passenger capacity un-checked. In its configuration for the RAF this means that it can carry 291 passengers in a single class, with a roomy 34inch pitch. Voyager’s cargo hold can accommodate eight NATO pallets or a payload of 43 tonnes.

El Sid
El Sid
November 13, 2013 2:58 pm

But “flying cargo via a commercial transport service to a suitable airport ” is not the problem.

They can get the cargo to a “suitable” [ie the nearest airliner-capable] airport, the trouble is that it then ends up “sitting on a runway in Cebu several hundred miles away from the people who need it” because “none of the affected areas have a runway long enough for anything other than military transports such as the C130“.

Which is what Martin’s post was saying.

El Sid
El Sid
November 13, 2013 3:10 pm

It’s not just the availability of aircraft that’s the limiting factor – it’s turning into Lord of the Flies there, every man for himself with the added bonus of Communist guerillas holding up aid convoys at gunpoint and a riot at the airport every time an aircraft lands :

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/philippines/10445615/Typhoon-Haiyan-aid-convoys-come-under-fire-as-relief-operation-becomes-logistical-nightmare.html

Aid convoys attempting to bring relief to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan are coming under regular attack from both suspected communist rebels and starving survivors of the monster storm.

Relief columns being escorted by the Philippines army are now engaged in firefights with members of the New People’s Army, the militant wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The almost complete breakdown of law and order in the areas hardest-hit by Haiyan is only further hampering a relief operation that the UN’s World Food Programme is describing as a “logistical nightmare”.

James Hinchliffe from the u.s.a.
James Hinchliffe from the u.s.a.
November 13, 2013 4:01 pm

Brilliantly put ! I can only dream of a conservative politician saying something like that to the bleeding heart liberals in America.thanks T.D. and best wishes for you and Great Britain.

Simon257
Simon257
November 13, 2013 5:00 pm

I’m sure we can airlift a couple of Chinooks into the Philipines. Even a C130 can be to big.

We should have transferred the Two Points we recently disposed of to the DFID. ONe based in the Caribbean and the other in Dubai. Preloaded with essential kit. But the Politicians don’t think like that!

Mark
Mark
November 13, 2013 5:43 pm

This is all going on a mere 600miles from the British Far East reserve force which has a infantry battalion and a couple of helicopters and I assume some engineering capability. We could have used it as a staging area.

John Hartley
John Hartley
November 13, 2013 7:17 pm

Just to agree that the Voyager PFI remains an expensive way to get half equipped, limited use aircraft.
The RAF have missed a chance to get some C-130J out there, to prove to the pols, the need to keep them.
The Phillipines are not going to get fixed overnight, so why not load up an RN Amphib & send it out. Months of “Give Jack a job” priceless rebuilding PR.

Z
Z
November 13, 2013 7:38 pm

Listen to the interview with Gen. Paul Kennedy here re. logistic developments at Taclopan airport > http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24928138

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 13, 2013 7:41 pm

Hearing similar on Sky, the US has managed to set up landing lights and ATC at Taclopan.

Not Boffin
Not Boffin
November 13, 2013 11:11 pm

Lusty is currently off East Africa. With some cabs aboard. 500 miles a day with a couple of drinks gets you a secure helo operating base, with facilities, support, people, spares etc off Philippines in a week or so, give or take.

An option?

The Ginge
The Ginge
November 13, 2013 11:13 pm

Dear All
I flagged this up a couple of days ago and really would appreciate your views.

Every time there is a major disaster it is the same story over the last 30yrs. Aid agencies are unable to get in to difficult places. The military excel at this type of stuff, as per this websites excellent series on amphibious assault. What they need is pre-positioned stores, rough landing aircraft (Cheap Bae146’s anyone) and a Bay class or Ocean Class LHD/LPD to provide on site assistance. Yes positioning of ships is tricky, but in this case and with monsoons in Bangladesh/Burma or snow in Pakistan the ships can be moving before the event.

So what do you need, well in my admittedly amateur view we need there now, Heavy Lift Helicopters (now as they will not be over used some second hand items spring to mind, suggestions welcome), Landing Craft, Mexifloats ( A working dock close by would be godsend) Bulldozers and 8×8 drops vehicles (maybe some old Leyland/Foden kit which can be picked up at a song at MOD auctions because it’s not IED proof). It needs to have hospital facilities, a big desalination plant to provide water. Remember the Philippines has working disaster plans, hospitals etc it’s case of water, shelter and transport. Longer term aid can be supplied by the Red Cross, Save the Children.

My own view would be a small detachment of Royal Marines to provide security to sites and roads etc. I would keep the high end radars and communications stuff, as it is quite common for these to be taken out in disasters. I would also co-op the disaster relief agencies planners on board and cross train Royal Navy/Royal Marines

I would also kit it out with facilities to receive specialist search crews like International Rescue.

To back this up I would also team it up with it a medium sized relatively quick Container ship with 8 to 10,000 tonnes of tents, food, shelters. Probably a Ro/Ro design if possible (UK Pfi Ships leased to the UN ?)

So the big question is how do you sell this the Aid Agencies, the Dfid and the Government. Well again my own view that may be added to is the following ;

1. Red Cross already on Newsnight 2 nights ago talking about having to be ready next time with pre positioned aid. So they are already responsive. I suggest that maybe the boats are big and white, not grey (if we need them and the balloon goes up a repaint Grey don’t cost much) and you have to involve them so they buy in to the programme. Remember the Americans always turn up in grey Hulls, Helicopters and planes without complaint. Secondly pointing out their CEO’s wages not the way to go. (Also would say my Son heard him talk at a small meeting and he was V V Impressed and he is the most cynical person I’ve ever met, makes you proud !) Also getting UN buy in might help, maybe Royal Marines have to don Blue Caps ? And take the pointy missiles off first !
2. MOD. Well you get a Ocean replacement (or 2 if your lucky) not out of your budget, great training opportunity as the ship is regularly trained up to handle difficult missions, great morale boost for all different types of personnel feeling like they are doing some good in the world, hopefully a flat ship sitting East of Suez permanently in the right place if we need it (maybe based for free in Singapore as a contribution to regional help).
3. Foreign Office, great show of UK soft power. Nobody forgets a great big boat turning up with a huge Union Jack down the side, or a big 8×8 truck with the Union Jack on it with food and water as your about to die is a big tick in the good guy column.
4. If we use existing budget from Dfid and MOD personnel budget to man (we already paying for the Sailors/Soldiers/Airman) then no problem with Spreadsheet Phil or HM Treasury.
5. Use HMS Ocean now, on the basis of building 2 more modified Oceans at BAe Glasgow yards, with T26/OPV moved to Portsmouth, save the jobs and look great. Kill Labour/UKIP in the South of England, show the Aid budget helping everybody whilst providing UK jobs. Con/Lib Dem political win will sell it with the two Leaders, they’ll pull Dfid in line ? Maybe even a Euro wide effort, showing the EU is good for something ?

So how do we do this. Well I suggest Martin looks to pull together all the ideas on the web site then put together a proposal in the next few days. (Interested ?) We then need to get as many people contacting their MP’s (especially if you have ministers/PPS or other local politician including Labour MP’s) with the same message. Personally I work in a Large Corporation and am looking to use contacts at CEO level to push forward. We have Twitter/Facebook (I know I’m not great at it, but could some IT literate person set up a page on the above ?) It’s amazing when you sit down who you know. (I’m happy to Help, Martin your website should have my email do please PM me if you need help)

The thing to remember that anything worthwhile doing is never easy, but great things start with one step ! So what does everybody think ? Am I nuts ?

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 13, 2013 11:40 pm

On the question of Charity CEO Pay I have always thought that the PM’s salary should be fixed as a divisible of the average salary (as opposed to bonuses) of the highest paid employee of each of the FTSE 250, and that all other publicly funded salaries (tax, donations, licence fee) should by law be at most 90% of that sum; furthermore commercial bonuses would be available only to the extent that the recipients invested their personal wealth in the Company they ran.

This would give Remuneration Committees a strong incentive to keep risk-free top pay down (in order to keep the tax bill down – a big part of that is public sector salaries) but still allow top business leaders a big performance bonus – but only if they risked beggary to achieve it.

The wealth that they needed to commit to the Company would include their pension pots….thus Fred the Shred could have done what he did…but when the bank went bust, so would he…he would now be in a Council Flat in Corstorphine…

GNB

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 14, 2013 1:09 am

@ David Niven,

It would be hard for any firm to refuse their reserve personnel to be called up for 6 months to help starving women and children…”

No it wouldn’t. They’d just refuse to employ them, so the question would not arise. There are several natural disasters a year on a global basis. No company wants to employ someone who might spend his / her entire time globe trotting to disaster areas and not actually contributing to a firm’s top line income.

(I’m not jaundiced or anti-charity, but it was a realistic observation of some time I spent IT consulting and working closely with the third sector that it is absolutely packed out with earnest people who are very much looking forward to going abroad to be in a disaster zone to help out somehow, and would do it again and again and again if they could)

Military reserves are mostly for military purposes, with a once in a blue moon need for some form of niche capability that might be useful for disaster relief. It’s not the MoD’s job to run the TA for DfID. If DfID want a TA, they can fund one and recruit, and get the employment legislation through Parliament.

Observer
Observer
November 14, 2013 6:47 am

RT is unfortunately right in how employers would view employees with outside commitments. Unless the government steps in to offer some sweeteners, such employees would be definitely not in the top picks of industry hiring.

martin also has a point in the article, our (Singapore) disaster relief plans recognise 2 phases in disaster recovery, the initial fast response where a mobilised and highly mobile military has a strong advantage in response time and mobility vs aid agencies which often fall short due to a lack of vehicles and pre-mobilisation (i.e an army is already mobilised and equipped) and the 2nd phase where a stabilizing situation allows for aid agencies to bring in relief supplies that vastly dwarf whatever a military can scrape up on the fly.

As such, the purpose of military intervention in disaster relief can be summed into 2 main goals.

1) Immediate emergency aid to those in critical, life threatening situations
2) Stabilization of transport and security situation to allow aid agencies to take over control of the situation from the military.

In this method of thinking, a single engineering team with heavy equipment and a lot of C4 might actually be a lot more help than 200 tons of relief supplies, especially if they can open up a new C-130 capable airfield in the area.

Mark
Mark
November 14, 2013 8:03 am

These teams already exist http://www.intrescue.info/hub/index.php/what-we-do/

What the should do is use government naval and air assets for mobility or specific engineering capability or sat com or recon assets to know where to go its just requires for sight preemptive planning and co ordination with gov departments.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
November 14, 2013 9:02 am

@ RT

We are expecting the reserves to mobilize on a regular basis now, they are no longer a reserve but are now basically considered regular manpower within the adaptive brigades.

I’m not advocating sending the reserves to every natural disaster, but ones on a scale such as this which are every 5 years or so, the last one being Haiti. Both are too large for most nations to manage on their own and we send a ship or a few helicopters to every disaster already.

It would be easier to justify their mobilization to the nation as a whole and therefore harder for the employees to resist if they we were used for the occasional good will gesture, which also has military training benefits.

Employers will not recruit reservists now if they are that important to the company regardless of the occasional natural disaster.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 14, 2013 10:06 am

We don’t have to think in terms of western aircraft, there are plenty of Russian cargo aircraft floating around ready to be leased. They have aircraft with similar capabilities as the C130 in terms of rough strip landings.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
November 14, 2013 10:19 am

@ martin

You will not get DFID to pay for regular soldiers when one of its stated policies is

” Working for peace long-term stability in the Middle East and North Africa

The British government’s humanitarian and diplomatic efforts in securing peace in the Middle East and North Africa.”

They could however be possibly persuaded to fund a couple of reserve units that are not seen as part of the every day war machine.

Jiesheng
Jiesheng
November 14, 2013 11:25 am

Have you read https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/43340/jdp3522nded.pdf

It is not so simple to throw in the military for any relief effort. Page 3-15: Royal Mairnes Commandos were initially rejected in Pakistan becuase of the term Commando. Gurkhas from Brunei were dismissed as Indonesia did not want such troops (which had a fighting past) to attend to its relief efforts.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
November 14, 2013 11:42 am

@ Not a boffin – Great minds and all that…

Lusty on the way.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24940632

x
x
November 14, 2013 11:44 am

@ Martin

If we had unlimited budget (which we always have here!) I would build LASH ships.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lighter_aboard_ship

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/lash-ship-new-concept-in-sea-transport

Each lighter would be a self-contained unit. They could provide all manner of capabilities; generation, reverse osmosis, hospital, comms, etc.etc. Drive them up the beach or anchor them down.

£200m C17 moving 60 tons isn’t that efficient. Of course it is all we have and better than nothing.

Think Defence
Admin
November 14, 2013 11:50 am
Reply to  x

Or it is time sensitive, or far inland

Which is kind of the point

x
x
November 14, 2013 11:57 am

triage

noun: triage
1.(in medical use) the assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties.
“a triage nurse”
the process of determining the most important people or things from amongst a large number that require attention.
“a system of educational triage that allows a few students to get help while the needs of others are neglected”

verb: triage; 3rd person present: triages; past tense: triaged; past participle: triaged; gerund or present participle: triaging

1. decide the order of treatment of (patients or casualties).
“victims were triaged by paramedics before being transported to hospitals”

Observer
Observer
November 14, 2013 12:05 pm

I’ve been hearing rather nasty rumours that the Philippines government is actually picking and choosing the foreign aid it is receiving, apparently there was a HADR exercise ran in June this year on an ASEAN-Sino co-operative basis but for some reason or other, the protocols were not activated by the Philippines government, choosing instead to accept only Western military help. This is leading to rather nasty suspicions that the Philippines government is playing diplomatic and political games at the expense of the people.

From an Asian point of view, the Philippines does not have a good reputation in the region.

x, LASH was a good concept, in the 80s, it was touted as the next big step in transport, big enough to even get a mention in school textbooks. After that, it sort of died out when people went to full containers minus the lighter.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 14, 2013 12:10 pm

The problem I see is not getting the aid to the Philippines, it is distributing it where it is needed, yes a prepositioned vessel that can transport containers to shore is needed but it isn’t the end. So you have got the supplies to the beach, how do you get them to the relevant area, I think we need to look at keeping units that specialise in this field, i.e. RE units at a high readiness to deploy with plant and equipment capable of opening roads up, and also then look at getting lorries capable of transporting containers into the country.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 14, 2013 12:12 pm

@ Observer

All countries will pick and choose military aid, but I doubt many will refuse civilian aid.

x
x
November 14, 2013 12:42 pm

@ Observer

Thank you I didn’t realise that had happened. Containers you say? Well I never. While I have your ear what about monorails, autogyros, and seaplanes?

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
November 14, 2013 12:50 pm

@ The Ginge – Humanitarian assistantance and Diaster relief (HA/DR) has long been an interest of mine. A long time ago I came across this document which you may find useful/interesting; it is a project report by USN naval students so is US focused and includes other missions apart from HA/DR in its “Phase Zero” but does provide projected figures for food, water and shelter requirements, etc.

http://www.nps.edu/Academics/Institutes/Meyer/docs/SEA-15FinalPresentation%2520slides.pdf

EDIT: not sure link is working – this one might be better?
https://docs.google.com/viewer?embedded=true&url=http://www.nps.edu/Academics/Institutes/Meyer/docs/SEA-15FinalPresentation%2520slides.pdf

Observer
Observer
November 14, 2013 1:39 pm

Tom, agreed, but it is the military that is actually the most practiced in getting stuff into hard to reach locations, be it a military strike force or lots and lots of food and water.

Oh well, they’ll sort themselves out in time. Hopefully with a minimal loss of life, though I’m not sanguine about it.

x, re monorails, a train by any other name… is just as bloody slow! :) I was always a fan of personal flying vehicles, as RT has pointed out also in that Star Wars link that you did(?), it would make a wonderful scout vehicle, same with speeder bikes. Small autogyros would fit in the same category if you can get past the problem with the big blade area, and potential decapitation. Seaplanes, wonderful vehicles. Great as for supplementary airport, leave the big land area for jumbos, small seaplanes for local short hops. Pity the seas here are even more crowded than the airspace.

x
x
November 14, 2013 2:40 pm

@ Observer

Thanks. If you could do a presentation and record it for me on Betamax I would be grateful.

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu
November 14, 2013 2:49 pm

The new Australian Government has well and truly dropped the ball on this. The pollies have resumed hostilities with the newly elected Liberal National Party (conservatives) taking to the government benches for the first time this week.

They have been largely preoccupied with the petty name calling that now passes for parliamentary debate while one of the largest hurricanes in history wiped a significant part of one of our neighbours off the map.

Given this is in our own backyard and the RAAF’s not inconsiderable experience with Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) including sending 3 C17s a much further distance to Japan in response to the 2011 tsunami , they should have been all over this like a rash.

Finally on Wednesday a single C-17A Globemaster and a C-130J Hercules departed Darwin to transport an Australian Medical Assistance Team (AusMAT) and 22 tonnes of equipment to Mactan Air Field on Cebu.
It seems the main focus of the initial Australian response will be medical supported by a RAAF Mobile Air Load Team (MALT), an Aircraft Security Operations Team and Aeromedical Evacuation specialists.

To be fair though, without knowing what is going on behind the scenes and precisely what assistance has been requested, it is difficult to know if the delays and the low level response are the fault of the a lack of action here or in the Philippines.

Despite what some may think, you can’t just waltz into someone’s country uninvited and there is a fair bit of diplomatic, military and civil authority liaison needed to make it happen. Plus the situation on the ground is understandably completely chaotic and deteriorating rapidly.

It seems from the information put out by the ADF that part of the hold-up has been waiting for confirmation of an operating location for the medical team at Tacloban airport.

Once in Cebu the RAAF is planning to use the C-130J to transfer the medical team to Tacloban. All of this of course is contributing to the log jam of aid on Cebu.

What I don’t quite understand though is why reports seem to suggest that Tacloban isn’t able to handle C17s directly. The Kiwis are currently conducting an exercise in New Zealand where USAF C17s are using a provincial airport with a strip just 1.29 kilometres long (although admittedly probably not at full load). Tacloban’s paved strip is 2.14 kilometres, although it is close to the ocean and may have sustained damage from a storm surge.

I understand the US has restored air traffic control, one of the first priorities in a disaster response. Had the RAAF been quicker off the mark (or probably more accurately the newly minted Defence Minister) Australia would have been well placed to stand up this capability drawing on the experience we regularly exercise when bringing one of our remote so-called ‘bare bases’ on line.

Pic bit.ly/1e5u9o0 shows RAAF mobile air traffic control tower and Lockheed Martin AN/TPS-77 phased array radar (capable of tracking targets out to 450 km at elevations up to 100,000ft) alongside older (late 80’s) AN-TPS 43 radar.

Maybe if the Australian Government gets its act together, HMAS Choules (that’s HMS Largs Bay to you guys) will also get to repeat its HADR mission to Haiti under its new flag. Let’s hope we can do more for the poor buggers in the Philippines. God knows they need it.

Kibbitz Van Ogle
Kibbitz Van Ogle
November 14, 2013 3:18 pm

The utility of numerous prepositioned long well-deck Amphibs.

Both LSD-41 type vessels have 440′ x 50′ x 31’+ well-decks. Capable of carrying a lot of float-in/float-out hardware, systems and, here, HA/DR supplies.

Leveraging LCU-F would allow bringing into the given stretch of shore-line a combined total of
– 12 LCU-Fs (270′ x 22′ x 4’6″ x 20kts)
– each hauling up to 200tons of ‘whatever’
for a combined total delivery to any beach of some 2400 tons of stuff.
Plus 12 AH/UH-size helo-spots (Lily-Pads/Bingo-Pads) if need be.

Check out:

http://news.usni.org/2013/11/13/navy-send-two-amphibious-ships-philippines?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=navy-send-two-amphibious-ships-philippines&utm_source=USNI+News&utm_campaign=8f93f2648b-USNI_NEWS_DAILY&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_914494fc00-8f93f2648b-228052041&mc_cid=8f93f2648b&mc_eid=873040aa00

x
x
November 14, 2013 3:28 pm

@ KVO

A LASH ship could easily “move” 30,000 tons of stores. Or in other words 500 C17 lifts. Or 1500 C130 lifts.

Brian Black
Brian Black
November 14, 2013 3:34 pm

Martin mentions only 15% of aid goes towards disaster relief. I personally would be happier if a little less money went on feel-good projects for Guardian readers, and a larger share went towards disaster relief – including the longer-term support.

One of the justifications for spending a billion quid a month on aid has been that projecting soft power around the world builds up a credit of goodwill for the UK. I think it would be a worthwhile investment for the UK to have a more persistent naval presence in the far-east so that we could be quicker on the scene for these kind of events. At relatively small cost we could put a modest logistics/transport vessel in both the far-east and the Caribbean.

It’s very well sending a destroyer if that’s what we have closest to the Philippines, but it’s not much help for this kind of emergency. The limited available flying hours of the embarked helicopter may well be prioritized towards area reconnaissance in order to plan and prepare for the greater capability of Illustrious. Fresh water from the destroyer would be welcome relief for those that can get it; but the crew will only have rhibs to get it to shore, and are unlikely to have any means of getting about once on land.

A dedicated auxiliary for the area could have to hand not only aid stores aboard, but vehicles – light trucks and atv, or light plant for clearing roads and obstructions. And some better means of getting stuff to shore too.

John Hartley
John Hartley
November 14, 2013 6:35 pm

Nice to see HMS Illustrious on its way. I remember one of those documentaries on Quest showing an American firm that makes prefab homes that are hurricane proof. They designed it after Katrina. All the walls/roof windows have extra reinforcement to withstand extreme storms. It turns up on the back of a lorry & is craned onto thick timbers 6ft or so above ground. That way it can withstand storms & floods. Instead of DfID money paying third world dictators, I would like to see a UK firm churning up something similar, loading up a RN Amphib & delivering dozens of new storm proof houses to a disaster zone. Would that be a good news story or what.

tweckyspat
November 14, 2013 6:44 pm

I was lucky enough to work with WFP in Indonesia after the tsunami. One of the shortest but most worthwhile jobs I ever did whilst still serving. Banda Aceh airfield was also similarly choked with aid which could not reach those in need, and the road network was in clip hence couldn’t take the porposed aid convoys.

Unsurprisingly the answer was amphibs. Helos, LCUS, rafts and lighters so aid could be delivered acrosss beaches and into what remained of jetties, or with short ship to shore hops inland by helos.

we even planned (but did not execute) HA airdrops.

Point class ro-ros of much less utility without the LCUs etc to get it all distributed

what was surprising to me then even in a major humanitarian situation was how small the overall daily needs were in volume and weight terrms compared to the old Staff Officers HB rate sof consumption for divisional artillery and the like. Ro-Pu units for water were also in high demand and of course osmething else you can get from a decent support ship

WiseApe
November 14, 2013 6:59 pm

I didn’t realise NaB has so much pull:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24940632

wf
wf
November 14, 2013 7:43 pm

: I note that Illustrious is now an “aircraft carrier”. I thought they didn’t exist anymore, although a similarly named one appeared as if by magic off Libya a couple of years back :-)

Kibbitz Van Ogle
Kibbitz Van Ogle
November 14, 2013 8:25 pm

X-Man
LASH ship would be perfect for the HA/DR purpose if
– an ASIA-MEB existed,
– an there was an agreement to keep a few of these loaded with respective gear and machinery,
– the vessels were kept in 2-days readiness,
– multiple tugs were part of the LASH-load
– such assets could cruise along-shore as soon as the waves subside some while dropping off a few 1000-tons at every locality in need.

Weather is a well-known phenomenon. However ASEAN for instance has yet to produce willingness and framework to have this HA/DR readiness.

As far as I known, there are four 57,000tons (fl) such ships in US ‘reserve’ on 5/10-recall status, with 2 as LASH and 2 as SeaBees.

ASEAN might be able to acquire 2 of those …
Will they ?

Simon257
Simon257
November 14, 2013 10:00 pm
Observer
Observer
November 14, 2013 11:53 pm

So what is the difference between a lighter hoisted on board a ship, and an LCU hoisted up on davits?

O.Z, Australia isn’t the only one twiddling their thumbs. Apparently none of the Asian countries have gotten clearance for deployment there as well. Looks like they are specifically selecting non-neighbouring countries for their military based aid.

Opinion3
Opinion3
November 15, 2013 12:50 am

It would be nice if the recipient countries and the DFID thanked the military and said they couldn’t have done X without you. Maybe then the politicians would take note of what might be needed in future.

I am a bit stunned that we have only spared a C17, don’t we have some Hercules spare? Surely an air bridge using the Voyagers or the Points could be handy. With all the Billions of aid we give you would think that we could spare some Chinooks.

Can they get into a C17 with a fold or is it a serious dismantling job?

Observer
Observer
November 15, 2013 10:21 am

Op3, dismantling. If you don’t fly it straight in, you’ll have to assemble on site in a day or so.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-UmfjpNX9g9s/Ukpxdgxe9bI/AAAAAAAAb70/fGwc3nhMyXQ/s1600/an8.jpg

From an Australian planespotting blog.

El Sid
El Sid
November 15, 2013 3:20 pm

@Oscar Zulu
In this kind of situation, reality tends to overwhelm what the datasheets say. Aside from the direct damage to eg air-traffic control systems, the airport has been used as a morgue and is having to handle thousands of refugees and people who just want first dibs on any aid supplies – it’s been a mess – although supposedly they’re sorting things out now. This gives you an idea of what it’s like after they’ve tidied up a bit and implemented some crowd control : http://www.navy.mil/view_image.asp?id=165232

OT, here’s a great story of the ships that won’t make it onto the TV news – USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62), a 5000t Pathfinder-class survey ship has been doing its thang in advance of the main US Navy effort looking for new obstructions on the sea bed and working out how the channels have changed after the storm. There’s lots of jobs to be done that a)the aid agencies just can’t do and b)aren’t about unloading tents in front of the TV cameras. I think there are now 17 USN ships in the area or underway – the article highlights the shallow draught of the LSDs in allowing them to get close to the shallow-sloping shore.
http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=77652

Kibbitz Van Ogle
Kibbitz Van Ogle
November 15, 2013 10:05 pm

Observer November 14, 2013 at 11:53 pm

LCU-F would be using ‘as is’ the extant USN Amphibs fleet-structure,
versus
dreaming up a new fleet of LCU-transporters…

Since LASH and SeaBee types have been around for a bit, ‘discovery’ of them now as assault-carriers seems late.

alienated
alienated
November 16, 2013 12:19 am

This tradegy, to a decent and mainly Christian nation, should give pause to thought to an intelligent UK govt*. keen to increase our influence abroad, whilst supporting UK manufacturing.

Instead of this being HMS Illustrious’s swansong (most probably), diverting some of the lavish DFID funding could help keep her available for military and civil emergencies, until replaced. Also, a couple of Hospital/emergency relief ships (Bay derivatives ?) would provide excellent aid to natural disaster zones/ war zones/ 3rd world hell holes. If these were built in Clydeside, the 3 OPVs could be built in Portsmouth. Everyone happy.

* In my dreams, hence alienated

Observer
Observer
November 16, 2013 1:40 am

KVO, you missed my point. The point in that current LCUs ARE hoisted up on davits, which means that they are LASH in all but name.

And the LCU-F is never going to enter service, it’s an overly complicated solution to a solution that needs to be kept simple. Pretty in concept, hellish in execution. It’s a tech toy. (Side note: Current LCUs are stored hoisted on davits, was there any discussion on how the LCU-F would fare hoisted? And this is “as is” in most SOPs, so the LCU-F is not really design for “as is” USN SOP)

Observer
Observer
November 16, 2013 2:25 am

Correction: Apparently the USN is no longer using LCUs on davits, that was their SOP in the 80s, so the LCU-F is used “as is” similar to an LCAC currently. Interesting that they chose to cut their carry capacity for landing craft. And an interesting insight to their current over the beach logistics needs. Apparently they shuffled the transport capability to self-deploying AAVs and did away with the smaller boats. A mistake IMO.

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu
November 16, 2013 3:09 am

@ Opinion3

A Chinook fits very nicely into a C17 as Observer says with some dismantling of the forward and rear rotors, pylons and gearboxes.

RAAF has been practicing this art for some time , most recently by the Force Extraction Team (FET) with the drawdown from Afghanistan.

Pics show RAAF loadmasters embarking an Australian Army ‘chook’ on a RAAF C17 at Kandahar. Shown using a custom built trolly for the rear pylon.

http://bit.ly/1aJ8nBL
http://bit.ly/1avKy3H

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu
November 16, 2013 4:08 am

@ Observer

‘Apparently none of the Asian countries have gotten clearance for deployment there as well. Looks like they are specifically selecting non-neighbouring countries for their military based aid.’

Singapore has just sent a second C130 to Cebu, so some Asian militaries are contributing directly to the HADR efforts. http://bit.ly/HRh2ez

The interesting player to watch in all of this is China. Given their strained relationships with the Philippines over the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea it will be interesting to see if their military will be invited in.

China’s government has promised just $100,000 in aid to Manila, along with another $100,000 through the Chinese Red Cross – apparently less than that offered by Ikea.

By contrast Australia’s aid package now stands at over $30 million and may well go higher. The Australian Government provided $1billion in aid to Indonesia in response to the Tsunami in 2004.

China is now being criticised, in by its own, normally conservative, state run media, for their inaction and paltry offer albeit they seem to be more concerned about their international reputation and a lost opportunity to buy influence in the region, rather than being motivated by any real humanitarian concern. http://reut.rs/1aYVlWM

Interesting too to contrast the way the US is approaching the relief effort. While the US has some historic and perhaps nostalgic ties to the Philippines, their relationship was strained when the US military was booted out of the country and their bases disbanded. Something the Philippines may now regret given the face-off with China.

Of course all of this may now be water under the bridge with the US ‘pivot to the Pacific’. The US are now mobilising significant assets with their Pacific Command saying it will be ‘a whole of PACOM effort’.

Whether the US motives are humanitarian or strategic, either way they are scoring big brownie points in the region and underscoring to China the strategic reach the Americans still retain.

Observer
Observer
November 16, 2013 7:17 am

OZ, there and back, transit and shipment, not deployed on the ground (on site). Oh well, their country, their choice on what to do. Besides, at this point, the US is already there in a fair bit of force, plus their indigenous army was relatively unaffected and able to supply manpower so it should be ok soon.

WiseApe
November 16, 2013 11:34 am

Sod’s Law dictates that this would always be on the other side of the world when needed:

http://defense-update.com/20131113_humanitarian.html

x
x
November 16, 2013 1:14 pm

Another thought concerning the DfiD budget. There is one of these major emergencies about evry year to eighteen months or so. Imagine the impact on “world opinion” If say one or two billion were kept back for such emergencies. Imagine the headline “UK donates £500 million (or a billion) to disaster.” Saying that I would rather have the money spent at home………

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 16, 2013 1:29 pm

I wonder if a multinational disaster response network could be the answer to the issues every time there is a natural disaster, I am not talking about just rehearsing on a small scale, but rather a network of prepositioned resources with an established command and control organisation.

This could allow for prepositioned vessels and equipment, and if NGOs were included as part of the C&C structure it would allow a coordinated response from day one. I imagine the function being a military initiated response with aid organisations then mobilising to bring in continuing supplies, once airports and ports have been opened up. If the funds and resources of a large number of countries would enable 4-6 vessels preloaded with non perishable rations, portable water production facilities, earth moving equipment to allow reopening of roads and medical equipment to be based at strategic locations at high readiness to be able to sail. Alongside this I would have stockpiles of similar equipment ready to be airlifted by aircraft drafted in at short notice, the countries involved would commit a number of aircraft they would offer up in times of emergency.

If there was a permanent multinational military HQ in existence which could when activated draw on these pre-committed resources to open the way for the aid organisations, I would also have a civilian HQ as well working to direct the aid organisations to where they are needed, I often looking at the Philippines and wonder if there is an issue of all involved rushing to Tacloban as it is the worst effected area and whether they should actually have spread their resources out right from the start, maybe it would take a little longer to deploy but now if all are based at Tacloban are they going to have to pack up and redeploy elsewhere, a C&C organisation could control this and allow the best deployment possible.

There are of course huge issues that would have to be overcome i.e. we would have to avoid waste and delay, I would like to see it as a small organisation that in effect has a huge amount of resources to call upon, a couple of hundred military and civilian HQ staff all seconded from other organisations, with all other personnel earmarked to be seconded at very short notice but only in an emergency.

Observer
Observer
November 16, 2013 6:59 pm

ET, there already is such a system in place, ASEAN disaster coordination centre is in Thailand while the main logistics base is in Indonesia. They even just finished a regional HA/DR exercise in Oct in Hanoi. Strange thing is that the Philippines did not request a mobilization nor assistance from them. I’m not sure which side is responsible, but there seems to be a disinclination to help the Philippines from its Asean neighbours.

Kibbitz Van Ogle
Kibbitz Van Ogle
November 16, 2013 10:10 pm

Observer November 16, 2013 at 1:40 am
Observer November 16, 2013 at 2:25 am

Observer,
you are not up-to-date on any of those counts:
– As a matter of “SOP” LCUs never hung off any davits on any ship since the first of that class were built in the 1950s.
– Much smaller/lighter LCMs did, as did LCV, LCP etc. – and those always hung empty !
– Nobody cut any cargo-carrying capacity.
– AAVs are only going ‘ship-to-shore’ in peace-time maneuvers, practicing peaceful engagements. In hostilities no Amphib-CO would ever keep his vessel close enough inshore to allow AAVs arrive on their own bottom.
– LCU-F could be stowed loaded and folded to maximize amphib-internal vehicle-lane-length, quite apart from keeping the amphib’s CG lower.
– LCU-F is apparently being discussed amongst serious levels within USN/USMC. They either pursue it further, or they won’t. But LCU-F is being looked at. How else would the article have ever made it into print ?

By sheer number of hydraulic-, electrical, electro-mechanical systems, LCU-F would be far less complex than anything like any “tech-toy” helo, any MV-22, Harrier/AV-8B, etc.

LCU-F is a game-changer in that it allows an ARG to launch a heavy-weight First Wave of the GCE, i.e. arrive in one shot in up to 15 concurrent surface-borne insertion-points via 12x LCU-F and 3x LCAC. And that has never been possible from any American ARG; and no other navy could even begin to dream of such capabilities. Nor would it be possible via any other current connector ‘competitor’ from anywhere else in the naval universe. That is why folks are looking at it.

If there are a lot of folks with your ‘perspectives’, then they would accept the perpetuation of the de facto incapacity to execute the USMC’s prime maneuver of an amphibious assault landing. And that would bode ill for the future of USMC. And that would leave a capability-gap nobody else can fill.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
November 17, 2013 9:06 am
Simon257
Simon257
November 17, 2013 9:36 pm
Observer
Observer
November 18, 2013 1:54 pm

Simon, someone mentioned above that knowing our kind of luck, it’ll be stuck on the other side of the world where it is really needed. And ships tend to be cargo efficient, but slow.

And didn’t someone mention seaplanes and floating boats? A modern day reworked Spruce Goose might just be a good middle ground, fast enough to get there within the first 48hrs and with enough cargo to do temporary emergency relief. I guessimate that the cargo capacity would be close to or similar to a 747, AN-124 or A380 (100-150 tons) given their similarity in sizes.

CheshireCat
CheshireCat
November 18, 2013 11:46 pm

Observer

For modern day Spruce Goose read Ekranoplan:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=V8Nu94khHoo&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DV8Nu94khHoo

Mental and pure genius all at the same time!!

Observer
Observer
November 19, 2013 4:00 am

Cheshire that is a hydroplane, not a seaplane or flying boat. It can’t fly beyond ground effect, which makes it too slow to use as an international response vehicle.

x
x
November 19, 2013 10:10 am

@ Observe

No it is an Ekronoplan which is WIG, wing in ground effect. The closer to the ground a wing the better it performs. Increase the size of the wing the more you can lift.

A hydroplane is in contact with the water (hence hydro).

Though the Ekronplan can indeed move more weight than a conventional aircraft being close to the ground the jets (and you would need a goodly number), the only power source with a decent enough power to weight ratio, aren’t operating in their optimum environment which means lots of fuel which impacts on lift, range etc.

Instead of spending £200m to move 60 tons 2000nm or so you would be spending £200m to move 240 tons less than 500……..

Better to spend £100m on a decent cargo ship and pack it with £100m of stores.

LASH is the way to go if we were starting from a clean sheet.

caf
caf
November 19, 2013 11:44 am

The USMC have sent at least 14 MV-22 Ospreys. They were self-deployed from Okinawa (approx 900 NM).

Observer
Observer
November 19, 2013 11:48 am

x, I’m old fashioned. WIGE vehicles which didn’t leave ground effect range were casually called hydroplanes in the old days, the terminology changed when they tightened the classifications.

The problem with using ships for rapid response disaster relief is that they are slow, they usually only arrive past the 48hr mark when you want to be there at 24hrs or less, which was why the musing on fast aircraft that is not runway bound, but that is still musing. Unless there is a firm need and demand for them, it’s probably not going to happen. I can’t see anybody springing a few billion for a seaplane development project that only 3-4 countries are going to buy, so this is just going to be a technical exercise. I wonder if such seaplanes are also viable for LOTS (logistics over the sand) as you can ship faster from further away. Guess we’ll never know.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 19, 2013 12:06 pm

Surely Air dropping supplies should also be looked at, I believe the C-5 can deliver 85 ton at a time. Air dropping also avoids the issues moving the supplies around the effected area once they have arrived. It would also allow a longer window until heavy kit is delivered as the basic aid is getting through.

x
x
November 19, 2013 12:10 pm

@ Observer

They are completely different vehicles. Ekranoplan use the cushion of air between the wing and ground to aid lift. Better on a smooth surface. A hydroplane uses a stepped hull and lots of power to push the hull up towards the surface. It then rides on the surface maintaining minimal contact with the surface.

Planes are only good for an initial token response but that is all.

The number of C17’s built is to 250. Their all out load on a good runway 60 tons. That is 15,000 tons in total. That LASH ship I mentioned above can move about 30,000. Then consider 9 million have been affected by this disaster. That the ships aren’t available with the levels of aid needed is an indicator of just how well the West’s aid programme and the UN are actually working. We can’t predict exactly where these events will happen but we do roughly know and we can estimate how often. 60 tons delivered from a £200 million isn’t the right answer. All it is is a tick in the box that says we have done something.

Observer
Observer
November 19, 2013 3:39 pm

x, I did say my definitions were old, in fact even before the word Ekranoplan was invented, so is it really surprising that classifications then were a mish mash?

And yes, 48hrs is called the “initial response” I believe, which was the ballpark I was playing in? I did some checking, most relief supplies operations drop an approximate total of 150-300 tons of food and water per week, a single 747/A380 sized load of supplies can buy a lot of time for the followup to arrive.

ET, you need boots on the ground too or you’ll get riots over the drop, bandits taking it at gunpoint, hungry people taking it at gunpoint etc. And in reality it is not only food and water but land clearing equipment too (bulldozers/cranes etc). With a place trashed, there are no clear spots to set up tents or temporary shelters. It’s more like a huge landfill full of rubbish and debris.

x
x
November 19, 2013 3:59 pm

@ Observer

I think you are confusing hydroplane with hydrofoil. Never mind. :)

dave haine
dave haine
November 19, 2013 4:11 pm

The C17 has a max payload of 77.5t, the C5 120t and the A124-100m 150t (although in typical russian style it has been overloaded to 170t).

Obviously the greater the payload the shorter the range. I think the C17 range with max payload is 2400nm, basically London to St Johns without reserves. So there will be a trade-off between how far you need to go and how much you can take there. Unless you start adding in extra sectors of course.

Really the A330-200F is a much better cargo hauler carrying 70t over 3200nm (basically london St Johns with reserves and diversionary fuel.)

Anyway all I’m doing here is re-iterating ‘x’ point. Aeroplanes are very good at quick, but not so good at lots. So people, emergency stuff etc. Ship do lots, but slow. The bulk of the supplies, in fact.

The big problem will always be getting either offloaded, once at the delivery point…

John Hartley
John Hartley
November 19, 2013 6:44 pm

C-17 engines are 1980s B-757 technology. If you used todays A350 Trent XWB suitably scaled down to C-17 size, I wonder what the extra range would be? Would you save enough fuel to pay for the re-engining costs?

Observer
Observer
November 19, 2013 6:47 pm

x, I wasn’t joking. Hell, even wiki has a comment to that effect with reference.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroplane

Look at the last disambiguation section.

It’s just a very very old classification system that went out of style. Don’t always assume things are as the are now.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 19, 2013 6:56 pm

@ Observer

I was thinking of air drops as part of a larger response, not a single method, there are still some areas which haven’t had aid come through via land and sea routes, surely if we were dropping some supplies in the issues with resources lost due to crime would be worth some getting through.