Tuesday, May 08, 2012

IMAX Short film shows the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, volunteer rescue efforts

The 26-minute IMAX 3D Short, “Rescue 3D”, directed by Stephen Low, has the most graphic disaster scene that I have ever witnessed close up. A significant amount of footage in the film, now shown at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, shows, from the air at low altitude, the devastation in Haiti shortly after the January 2010 earthquake.  One sees several miles of tenements, pancaked and imploded.  People are herded underneath huge warehouse like structures near the ocean. A church is shown crumbling to the ground.   Naval surgeons are shown performing surgery under battlefield conditions.  I don’t know how the filmmakers got this footage as it happened.  How could they be set up for it before it happened?  The film also has a scientific explanation of the Haiti earthquake, where the ground underneath slipped six meters.

The film also depicts several individuals in several different military and volunteer groups that offer assistance.  A female Air Force pilot, Lauren Ross, flies a C-17 cargo plane.  Maj. Matt Jonkey of the Nevada National Guard helps rescue a hiker stranded on a rocky prominence about Lake Tahoe (this may be training).  Commander Peter Crain of the Canadian Navy trains on a cutter (more like a US Coast Guard boat) of the Nova Scotia coast, the Athabaskan. Stephen Heicklen drills as a volunteer fire fighter in Bridgeville, NJ, in a scene that recalls Ron Howard’s “Backdraft”.  The hospital ship USS Comfort is also shown. 

One wonders about the altruistic motives to volunteer for such duty, particularly outside the military (as with volunteer fire departments). 

At the end, the volunteers and military are headed for the tsunami disaster in Japan in 2011.

The Smithsonian link for the film is here

There is a volunteer information exchange site for people interested in volunteering, which is difficult, link here

Wikipedia attribution link for USCG picture of damage from overhead, similar to film

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