March 2000. A massive airlift followed by a massive international rescue effort minimized casualties in the flooded country of Mozambique. The speed and efficiency with which the airlift and rescue operations were carried out set a model for the world. And the numbers will compare favorably with what is happening (or perhaps I should say, 'not happening') in New Orleans.
The priority was to rescue millions of people from floods that swept entire villages down the raging Limpopo, Save and other rivers. The Limpopo Valley, a rich agricultural area, became an inland sea. More than 700 people died and half a million were displaced. At the height of the disaster the U.N.'s World Food Program was feeding 650,000 people a month.
The United States was one of several countries that took part in the effort. A friend of mine who I went to high school with took part in the operation.
Of course, that was when we didn't snub other countries help, and we had a leader in the white house who took the situation seriously.