Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:UN

The Ebola crisis marked a coming of age for the use of mobile technologies in the humanitarian sector, with food security assessments leading the way. Movement restrictions and quarantines, in addition to fear of contracting the disease, made implementation of traditional face-to-face food security assessments in Ebola-affected communities extremely difficult. The rapid spread of Ebola and concerns as to how the outbreak could negatively influence market access and food availability also created a need for regular updates on food security. To overcome these challenges, the World Food Programme (WFP) deployed a fully automated, mobile-phone based remote food security monitoring system…
Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on 8 November 2013, cementing the position of the Philippines as one of the countries most at risk from natural hazards. Within days of the disaster the Emergency Relief Coordinator formally activated a system-wide level 3 (L3) response – a designation marking the highest level of humanitarian crisis. In responding to the needs of 14 million affected people, the Haiyan response became the first large-scale relief effort for a sudden-onset disaster since the Inter-Agency Standing Committee protocols under the Transformative Agenda were adopted, setting the parameters for improved collective action in humanitarian emergencies. Scaling up Accompanying…
Recent years have seen tremendous change in Yemen. The popular uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime in 2011 led to a process of transition where parties to past conflicts engaged in an open and frank discussion about the country's future, and Yemen is seen by many as one of the very few countries where the events of the Arab Spring still hold out the promise of democratic change. Much of the world's attention has focused on the political process and security issues because of the country's strategic position, in terms of both energy production in the region and international…
In the first week of March 2011, a group of schoolboys in the rural Syrian village of Dara’a were imprisoned for graffiti, after spray-painting the walls of a school with a common slogan of the Arab uprisings, ‘The people want to topple the regime’.[1] This event sparked anti-government demonstrations that would soon spread throughout the country. The ensuing conflict between government and rebel forces, which is now in its third year, has forced over two million Syrians to seek refuge abroad, principally in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, and further afield in Egypt. The relentless pace…
A political or military solution to stop the carnage in Syria seems as remote as ever. The war seems only to bring even worse depths of human suffering and diplomatic impotence. Syrian civilians are in a state, not just of terror, but of horror – hostages in a geopolitical, ideological and sectarian catastrophe. On the face of it, getting humanitarian assistance to the millions affected should be easier to deal with than the political and military mess. In the space of two years, a major relief operation within Syria has indeed come to life despite the extreme circumstances. But these…
Humanitarian access negotiations with Hamas in the Gaza Strip highlight the many challenges humanitarians encounter when engaging with non-state actors. After winning the Palestinian Authority (PA) parliamentary elections in 2006, Hamas began transitioning from an Islamic charitable/militant organisation to a party responsible for state institutions and the provision of public services. Yet Hamas remains in many ways a nonstate actor; those running its ministries are guided by its senior leadership in Qatar and Egypt, have little control over its paramilitary branch, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and are suspicious of Western aid organisations’ potential ‘collaboration’ with Israeli and other intelligence…
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…
South Sudan is host to one of the world’s largest humanitarian responses, bringing together national and international humanitarian actors in an operation worth more than $1.2 billion in 2013. While the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 brought an end to the civil war and led to the creation of an independent country, the security situation in the new nation remains volatile. Out of a population of 12 million, more than 4.6m are food insecure, many of them recent returnees. Ongoing tensions between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as communal violence within the country, displace hundreds of thousands of…
Numerous evaluations have highlighted the poor engagement of national and local NGOs within clusters, listing practical concerns such as language, staffing and logistics barriers, but often without a thorough analysis of why national NGOs do not engage, or what their motivations are when they do. Two questions arise. If we focus on the motivating forces behind engagement, can we build better cluster relations with national NGO partners? And by creating a prescriptive format of participation, such as the cluster approach, have we actually created a barrier to true partnership? My research on cluster partner national NGOs from Somalia, Zimbabwe, Myanmar…
Dialogue between military and civilian actors is problematic in Somalia, and no more so than in the southern port city of Kismayo, what was the Islamist group al-Shabaab’s last remaining garrison. Considered the most complex urban space in the country, Kismayo is an important trade centre less than 200km from the Kenyan border, and the ultimate prize for the warring sub-clans in the region. After the fall of Siad Barre in 1991, the city was dominated by a succession of some of Somalia’s most feared warlords, and most recently by al-Shabaab. The liberation of Kismayo, the fulcrum of al-Shabaab’s economic…
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