In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. President Bush took three days to respond. (And during that fiasco, eye-witness reports of major flooding weren't offically "confirmed" for 11 hours... hmmm, just like the NZ Civil Defence response to the Samoan tsunami reports in September 2009.)
September 2009: Typhoon Ondoy caused the worst floods in Manila's history. Again, very slow response - but agencies justified it by saying at least they were faster than the US/Katrina response!
On Christmas Day this year, while flying into America from Amsterdam, Abdul Abdulmutallab attempted to explode a bomb inside his underwear (there's a joke in there somewhere!). It took US President Barak Obama three days to reassure his people.
The commonality through all these instances is information. In terms of reassurance, Joe Public can NOT wait days to know what "the system" is doing to safeguard them. And when disaster is looming or rescue efforts are required, NO waiting time is acceptable – people need information NOW, not days later. That information must be fast, accurate, regularly updated and supported by rapid response. One can only hope that, in 2010, when the next situation occurs, things may be different. But wait: information is coming in (late!)... that pigs WILL fly next year too!