Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Emergency interventions

This article questions whether the humanitarian cluster system’s mechanisms for strategic thinking really allow plans to be adapted as situations change, with a particular focus on the Shelter Cluster during the Haiti earthquake response Using strategy documents, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)’s Financial Tracking Service and minutes of the Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) of the Haiti Shelter Cluster (the coordination structure for shelter agencies), we ask whether different decisions could have been made in early 2010. The article seeks to determine whether more questions could have been asked about the assumptions underpinning the response; learn from…
In eight out of the past ten years, there has been drought somewhere in the Horn of Africa, affecting nearly 70 million people. Indeed, the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia suffer from water scarcity on an almost annual basis. In this context, water trucking has played a pivotal role in addressing basic water needs. It is a coping mechanism during ‘typical’ dry seasons, based on existing private sector water trucks and vendors who sell water to those who are able to pay for it. In times of drought, direct water trucking is a common relief…
 There are more than 45 million displaced people in the world, 80% of them women and children.[1] Disasters, natural and manmade, typically destroy medical facilities, displace medical personnel and erode support structures. In these circumstances an unplanned pregnancy can be fatal, and between a quarter and a half of maternal deaths in crisis situations are due to complications from unsafe abortions.[2] Family planning and post-abortion care are proven, essential and cost-effective interventions that save women's lives.[3] Nonetheless, they have been long neglected in emergencies in favour of conventional priorities such as water, sanitation, shelter, basic healthcare and food. This article…
Inter-Cluster Coordination (ICC) requires clusters to work together to identify and reduce gaps and duplication, establish joint priorities and address cross-cutting issues in order to improve humanitarian response.[1] Information sharing is a first step, but ICC groups can also establish joint assessments and indicators, align training opportunities, set priorities, make recommendations to Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs) and develop proposals for the Central Emergency Response Fund and other funding pools and engage in other activities. In a recent evaluation of global cluster performance, ICC was judged to be 'ineffective in most cases and there is little integration of cross-cutting issues'.[2] Coordination…
Humanitarian financing has come a long way in recent years. The most notable innovation – multi-year humanitarian financing – has the potential to be as transformative as the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), and could influence the future direction of humanitarian funding globally. Alongside other country offices, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in Yemen is piloting this new approach. This article outlines the evolution of DFID's thinking on humanitarian financing in protracted complex emergencies, the assumptions underpinning the shift to multi-year funding and the expectations and challenges in Yemen. DFID Yemen's shift to a multi-year approach DFID's…
Yemen is beset by a constellation of overt and latent conflicts perpetuated by aggrieved local actors and aggravated by both the central government and regional and global powers. In parallel, localised conflicts have taken on dangerous new dimensions and involve new stakeholders. As armed non-state actors gain a greater foothold in the country conflict has expanded, precipitating multiple humanitarian crises in 'under-governed' areas beyond the reach of the central government and most aid agencies. Delivery of humanitarian relief to affected populations has been frustrated by the presence of non-state actors wary of aid agencies' agendas; such groups often lack a…
Insecurity in Yemen has risen sharply in recent months as several parallel conflicts have intensified and expanded. Hundreds of killings have been attributed to the state security services, tribal militias and Sunni and Shia movements since the start of the year. This spike in violence has taken place amidst – and has contributed directly to – a worsening humanitarian situation, and aid access has been curtailed. While there is some hope that the ongoing political transition, including the National Dialogue process, will help to bring stability, it may also lead to further conflict and greater humanitarian challenges. The evolving security…
A woman arrives at a health centre somewhere in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She was raped a few days ago. She does not feel well, she has pelvic pain and she fears she might be pregnant. While admitting her, the consultant asks her a series of questions: Where are you from? What religion are you? What ethnic group do you belong to? What do you do for a living? Do you have any children? Are you married? What happened? When? How? Who did it? What ethnic group did they belong to? How many of them were there? Can…
In natural disasters and complex emergencies, access to high-quality, timely information is a critical precondition for effective aid delivery. Unfortunately, recent crises have exposed the shortcomings of the humanitarian community in rapidly gathering and effectively using information on the key needs and priorities of affected populations. Such shortcomings are largely due to the lack of dedicated interagency resources for the collection, analysis and dissemination of key information. As a result, post-emergency contexts are often characterised by significant gaps. The first gap concerns the emergency phase of a crisis, when the supply of data is insufficient to meet demand. As data…
In November 2011, fighting in Blue Nile State in Sudan led to the flight of some 25,000 refugees to Maban County, in Upper Nile State in South Sudan, where they were settled in two refugee camps, first at Doro and then, from December, at Jamam. More continued to arrive over the subsequent months. Six months later, in May 2012, a second wave of 35,000 refugees arrived, in very bad condition with some dying of dehydration from their journey. After an initial period in transit camps en route, most of this second wave was moved to Jamam camp; new camps were…
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