Humanitarian Aid

In 25 Years as an Aid Worker I Have Never Witnessed This

Judy Leigh-Moore | Posted 10.04.2014 | UK
Judy Leigh-Moore

I have been an aid worker for over 25 years. In that time I've witnessed and experienced events and horrors that are beyond most people's imaginations. But I don't think I have ever felt the mixture of emotions that hit me recently as I boarded a tiny plane to take me out of the city of Malakal in South Sudan, back to the relative safety of the capital Juba.

Afghanistan: Humanitarian Needs Remain Great

Sir John Holmes | Posted 08.04.2014 | UK Politics
Sir John Holmes

Afghanistan is entering a new phase after the Afghan people went to the polls with so much enthusiasm a few days ago. Whatever the result of the election, with NATO troops continuing their withdrawal, it is clear that the burden of responsibility for the country now rests with the Afghans themselves. However, it is vital that the international community do not lose interest, and that western governments in particular do not now consider their responsibility to the Afghan people to be over.

Syria: Where Is Our Outrage and Why Does It Matter That It's Missing?

Cat Carter | Posted 28.03.2014 | UK
Cat Carter

Aid workers work in some tough places. Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central African Republic, Syria...the list goes on. It can be a difficult life - faced with daily tragedy on a massive scale, far from family and friends for months on end, unchanging stodgy and irregular food, limited clean water.

Hurray for World Vision! Round One to the World's Impoverished Children - Or Not?

Terry Ally | Posted 28.03.2014 | UK
Terry Ally

After fighting hard, being the trailblazer for Christian organisations rights to hire and fire on faith basis and opposing USAID's attempt - just two years ago - to "strongly encourage" faith-based contractors to stop discriminating against LGBT people in order to receive federal funding, one wonders what went wrong in the World Vision board room.

Why We Need to Think Again About How We Deal With Humanitarian Crises

William Garvelink | Posted 21.03.2014 | UK
William Garvelink

As disasters continue to increase in lives lost and in damage costs it is time for the international community to look again at the fundamentals of disaster response and invest in training the real First Responders, the families and communities affected by these emergencies.

The Operation Was Successful, But the Patient Died

Jonathan Whittall | Posted 20.03.2014 | UK
Jonathan Whittall

For those who do manage to reach health facilities, actual care often remains elusive because of cost. In Khost, in the east of the country, and in the capital, Kabul, roughly half the people surveyed by MSF borrowed money or sold what they could to pay for medicines or doctors' fees during a recent illness. Several sought care in neighbouring Pakistan.

Children Are the Key to Syria's Future

Catherine Cowley | Posted 11.03.2014 | UK
Catherine Cowley

As the war in Syria enters its fourth year, it's easy to lose hope. Even if there is a peace deal in the next few months - which, after the disappointments of the Geneva peace talks, seems as unlikely as ever - how will people recover, rebuild, and achieve any sort of reconciliation? How can Syria be a functioning country again?

What We Can Learn About Floods From Developing Countries

Dr Kate Crowley | Posted 24.02.2014 | UK
Dr Kate Crowley

Type the phrase "good in a crisis" into Google and you get 1.8 million hits. Search for "good at preventing crises" and you get just sixteen. It's a sad fact that - whether as individuals or as nations - we spend infinitely more time, energy and money dealing with problems than we do preventing them.

Syria's Spillover Effect on Jordan

Nikita Malik | Posted 21.04.2014 | UK Universities & Education
Nikita Malik

The Jordanian border is difficult to police. There are more than 40 crossing points, and they are used by both refugees fleeing Syria's civil war and smugglers. Although border guards receive Syrians seeking refuge in Jordan on a daily basis, they must increasingly watch for infiltrators from both sides.

What We Need to Save Lives in South Sudan

Arjan Hehenkamp | Posted 06.04.2014 | UK
Arjan Hehenkamp

Ordinary South Sudan citizens have been extraordinarily affected by the violent events of the past weeks. The destruction of hospitals and markets, as well as the increased pressure on host communities due to mass displacement, brings me to this conclusion: South Sudan will face a humanitarian emergency for the months to come, and its people will need all the help they can get.

Why Don't UK Students Want to Donate?

Megan Hughes | Posted 17.03.2014 | UK Universities & Education
Megan Hughes

There does seem to be some force behind the general conviction that donations should be made by those with a wage, not those with a student loan. Apart from in the case of students struggling to make ends meets, this reasoning appears disturbingly analogous with simply passing the buck.

The United States Is Selectively Slow, Too Bad for the Philippines

Francisca Stewart | Posted 13.03.2014 | UK Universities & Education
Francisca Stewart

Although the Philippine government is being criticized for not doing more, it is still difficult to find blame when it comes to natural disasters of this level. When it comes down to it, there is no one that can be directly blamed for this type of travesty, there is only so much anyone can do to prepare. The death tolls are nonetheless frightening and humbling.

Disaster Unfolding in the World's Forgotten Prison Camp

Ben Acheson | Posted 15.03.2014 | UK
Ben Acheson

What would life be like in a prison camp? We can postulate about dirty, cramped conditions but few of us will ever experience anything remotely resembling such an ordeal. It is even hard to imagine. The only given is that we would live in hope of being liberated from our nightmare. We would expect to be rescued as quickly as humanly possible.

Goodbye to an Ominous Year

Marc DuBois | Posted 03.03.2014 | UK
Marc DuBois

I work for Médecins sans Frontières (aka Doctors Without Borders). Professional humanitarians are many things; rarely superstitious. And yet 2013 has proven a year to leave behind, and I find myself harbouring nothing morbid, yet nonetheless fairly shaken by the 13th year of the new millennium... As a director in MSF, the spectre of Somalia 2013 leaves me feeling apprehensive about Syria, CAR or Sudan in 2014. Or Myanmar and DRC. Or many others.

From Zero to Zero: Syria's Double Refugees in Lebanon

Dr Mairead Collins | Posted 11.02.2014 | UK
Dr Mairead Collins

All any of these families want is to go home, to return to what they knew, to resume normal lives. The only way this will happen is for the conflict to end, for peace talks to begin to allow a safe return to pick back up the lives left behind. No one is suggesting that is likely to be any time soon.

Relief Groups Aren't Doing Much in the Philippines and Neither Is the Mayor

Keb Darge | Posted 09.02.2014 | UK
Keb Darge

On about day 10 the mayor appeared and took charge of distributing relief goods. This involved men with automatic rifles, light and heavy machine guns, grenade launchers etc., protecting the relief boxes until the Mayor had shifted "the good stuff" into his newly commandeered storage buildings.

Treating Typhoon Haiyan's Victims With Dignity

Kent Page | Posted 01.02.2014 | UK
Kent Page

For the two weeks since the typhoon, these bodies have been laying face up - staring into the alternating blazing sun and pouring rain. The smell of decomposition was overbearing, but I couldn't look away from the little girl in the white dress. It seemed so wrong for her to be left to the elements like that, and stared at by anyone passing by.

The Devastating Force of Typhoon Haiyan - and the Deadly Delay in Climate Talks

Zaid al-Rawni | Posted 23.01.2014 | UK
Zaid al-Rawni

It didn't take long to drive from perfect normality to total devastation. Heading north from our base in Cebu city, we passed through areas completely untouched by Typhoon Haiyan. But after a few hours we started seeing trees blown down - then, suddenly, we were in the disaster zone.

If We Told the Truth About Aid, You Might Get Bored

Matthew Frost | Posted 23.01.2014 | UK
Matthew Frost

The aid debate shouldn't be restricted to an argument about ring-fencing. It must also be about how we help people find their own ways out of poverty, identifying the most effective ways to help people become resilient to increasingly extreme weather conditions and to find financial independence and celebrating them. Even when they're in the form of committee meetings.

Can Syria Rebuild Its Devastated Health Infrastructure?

Resham Khiani | Posted 23.01.2014 | UK
Resham Khiani

Your local hospital has been bombed and you're sitting in a makeshift waiting room when masked men burst in and drag your doctor away for questioning. This scenario may sound like something from a far-fetched film but this has been a nightmare reality for many Syrians.

A Call to Respect Aid Workers in Syria

Sir Nick Young | Posted 23.01.2014 | UK
Sir Nick Young

Targeting and endangering these brave aid workers, who play no part in the conflict and who simply seek to help those most in need, is wholly unacceptable. The humanitarian tragedy that continues unabated in Syria is deplorable and more must be done to ensure aid reaches the vulnerable, and those delivering it are protected.

Syria: We Must Turn UN Security Council Words Into Action

Cat Carter | Posted 23.01.2014 | UK
Cat Carter

A year ago, almost to the day, I visited a refugee settlement on the Syria border, and it changed everything for me... Nothing prepared me for what I found a year ago. Instead of a population in need of aid, I found families outraged by the international silence surrounding the brutality of the conflict they had fled.

Sudanese Youth Lead Storm Relief Efforts as Entire Neighbourhoods Collapse

Yousra Elbagir | Posted 21.11.2013 | UK Universities & Education
Yousra Elbagir

Dahabbaya Idris and her two young children share a single room in her mother's home in Al-Hilla Al-Jadeeda, a suburb of Omdurman, Sudan. Just a few houses down lies the rubble that was once her home, a mud house which completely disintegrated under the force of the heavy rains that have plagued Sudan over the last month...

Time for a Humanitarian Surge in Syria

David Miliband | Posted 22.11.2013 | UK
David Miliband

For two years the humanitarian drive in Syria has been hobbled by the same division, fatigue and confusion that has afflicted the political effort to stop the civil war. Aid appeals have been ignored; access for aid denied; aid workers targeted. Now there are signs of new political cooperation over chemical weapons, and even talk of a revived negotiating process to end the war. They need to be matched by an urgent humanitarian surge - inside Syria and beyond.

No Mother Left Behind - What the Millenium Development Goals Mean for the Mothers of the Central African Republic

Laura Jepson | Posted 17.11.2013 | UK
Laura Jepson

This week marks 100 days since the report of the high level panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. As eminent persons and development academics once again turn their thoughts to what will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it's worth remembering what these debates really mean for mothers and babies in Sub-Saharan Africa.