As one of those who are in a "safer place," the following article by a Japanese professor strikes me as very relevant to this topic. I found the translated material somewhere on the 'Net. The translation is wooden here and there but I think the overall message is unambiguously communicated. It's a copyleft work.
At the time of unprecedented catastrophe
by Tatsuru Uchida -- Professor at Kobe College
Today, the thirteenth of March, is the third day of the East Japan Mega-Quake.
Newspaper headlines speak about "possible meltdowns at Fukushima reactors" and "ten thousand unaccounted in Minami-Sanriku-Cho Township."
It has turned out that we are experiencing a national disaster even greater than the quake [in Kobe] 16 years ago. What are we going to do? I should like everyone, including myself, be aware what the basic behaviours of "those in a safer place" should be.
Like Ken'ichiro Mogi wrote on his Twitter blog this morning, I believe in refraining from making "negative comments" on this occasion. We should now be engaging in All-Japan rescue relief and reconstruction of disaster areas, not in making reproachful comments to the Government or the authorities, blaming their inabilities. These very people are the ones who are leading, and will be leading, efforts at rescue and reconstruction. They need material and spiritual support to continue their tireless hard work. We should not be lacking in moral support for them.
For some, telling apart "those in a safer place" and "those in suffering" provides a good occasion, as if, to speak up for the latter and criticize the former. This is a rhetoric to vent out their personal frustration and aggression. They are merely taking advantage of the suffering of the victims to advance their own interests.
Pull yourselves together.
Rules for a time of crisis are obviously different from those for a safer time.
Immediately after the quake, many individuals from different regions used their own judgment to offer their facilities and services to the victims free of charge. Offers are keep flowing.
This is the time when we could use resilience in administering rules.
After the quake sixteen years ago, I went to a grocery to buy some fuel for my gasoline stove. While waiting at the cashier, I met a woman who came there to buy tarp sheets to cover the top of the house. Her house lost the roof and she needed something to take shelter from rain. The clerk at the store charged me the full price for the fuel but gave her the sheets for free, saying, "We should help each other in distress [Komatta tokiwa otagai sama]."
His behaviour is a good example of versatility.
(3) Entrustment to Experts
An All-Japan support means the support should not be affected by any "political ideologies" or "market principles."
In this blog I have written many times about "social common capitals," or fundamental resources necessary for the existence of our community, or the nation state. They include natural resources such as forests, lakes, oceans and soil, social infrastructures such as water supply and sewerage systems, telecommunications, roads and railways, institutional capitals such as judicial, medical and educational systems. I have argued that we should "entrust" these resources to experts capable of managing them according to their expertise. We should not use them as a means for realising a political ideal or gaining benefit in the market.
Disaster response above all other things is a domain to be entrusted to the experts; it should have nothing to do with any "political correctness" or trade benefits.
We should listen to the experts we have entrusted and behave in an orderly manner.
Tolerance, versatility, entrustment are the three things I train myself for, even at a great distance from the disaster areas.
I believe they are useful as well as necessary for delivering sure and immediate relief to the victims.
This is what I felt when I was once a victim of a disaster.
This has been a record of my thoughts back then.