2010 the Biggest Year for International Emergency Responses
Wednesday, 6th October 2010 at 11:49 am
As millions of children are recovering from disasters in Haiti and Pakistan this year, humanitarian aid organisation, Save the Children UK reveals that 2010 is set to overtake the year of the tsunami to become the biggest for international emergency responses.
The organisation says the amount committed globally for the UN and aid agencies to respond to conflicts and natural disasters in 2010 already stands at $12.8bn. With four months still to go this figure is expected to surpass the $13.1bn spent in 2005, the year of the Asian tsunami response.
Gareth Owen, Emergencies Director for Save the Children says this year has been unparalleled in terms of the scale and complexity of emergency response and the demand for aid agencies to respond in sensitive conflict zones and in the wake of complicated natural disasters has been enormous.
A new report from Save the Children says this increased demand is part of an ongoing trend that has seen emergencies become more frequent and more complex. The report, ‘At a Crossroads: Humanitarianism for the Next Decade’ says that there will be more frequent and more serious natural disasters and a continuing need to work in more complicated political settings.
The report examines some of the most pressing issues facing the humanitarian system and identifies how they are affecting the nature of humanitarian emergencies.
It says that a combination of climate change, population growth and urbanisation means that an increasing number of people are vulnerable to natural disasters.
The report says that by 2015, the number of people affected by climate-related disasters each year is likely to rise by an estimated 50%, from 250 million per year today to 375 million.
It says says that a blurring of the line between politics, security and emergency response is also a serious challenge.and as aid agencies continue to work in politically sensitive areas and reach people in countries that have been torn apart by conflict, they are at risk of being used by either side as a political tool.
It warns that this can mean that aid is not directed at those who are most in need.
Gareth Owen says the job of aid worker is not going to get any easier.
He says the challenge is to prepare fully for the challenges ahead – stockpiling supplies, improving the ways aid agencies, governments and the UN work together and vitally working with children and communities so they know what to do if disaster strikes.
He says in order to best serve the children and their families affected by these disasters aid organisations must stick to their principles of impartiality and independence, even in the most difficult settings.
Download the report at www.savethechildren.org.uk [PDF]