Military cooperation

1. The military response was coordinated by a combined Support Force in Utapao, Thailand, with military from 30 nations plus a UN civil-military liaison.

2. It was emphasized that the interface between civil and military resources worked best if civilian authorities identified the priorities for the military.

3. The discussion of civil-military cooperation following the tsunami was the subject of substantial debate, based on concern for the ability of the military "to operate within accepted humanitarian principles ... and ensure integrity of many humanitarian agencies." This focuses attention on the need to establish methods for collaboration that would be best achieved with memoranda of understanding.

4. Although there was the tension noted above, it was also acknowledged that the military response was highly effective in some areas, particularly in hard-to-reach locations and Aceh, and here the military response provided the first comprehensive needs assessment of 500,000 people.

John G. Bartlett Media

1. It was acknowledged that media personnel play a critical role in providing information, and journalists are generally the only source of information. This is important for the local community as well, since it can provide critical health information.

2. It is important for the organizations engaged in the response to provide the journalists with the accurate information that they need. After the tsunami, many journalists felt that there was sparse information on population-based health risks. The main problem was that the emphasis was anecdotal, and disproportionately emphasized psychological trauma, diarrhea, malaria risks, etc. The assessment emphasized the needs between responsible agencies and media.

3. Emphasis was also placed on the need for journalists and broadcasters to be considered part of the response team, as key players in helping to develop a policy agenda by disseminating public health messages, identifying areas of greatest need, and correcting myths - which are so common.

4. It was also a recommendation that the WHO hire local journalists to collect better information.

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