Humanitarian Aid: Moving the Dialogue Toward Prevention - Miller-McCune
This past year, as with the years before, the international news has been replete with stories of humanitarian disasters. War, drought, flood, earthquake, disease — there are constantly populations in crisis, constantly people for whom the difference between life and death lies in the response of the outside world.
Perhaps it has always been this way. One thing that has changed, however, is who is doing the responding. Where disaster relief had once been overwhelmingly funded and provided by nations, increasingly we have seen that response to humanitarian disasters has been coming from the private sector — corporations, foundations, and individuals. Whether from the public or private sector, one dynamic that has remained constant in this work is the focus on relief, rather than on either reconstruction or prevention.
Having studied humanitarian crises for half a dozen years now, we at DARA — an independent organization committed to improving the effectiveness of aid for vulnerable populations — have come to understand how much the “relief mindset” has cost, in both dollars and lives. Research has shown that every dollar spent on preventative measures obviates the need for $7 in relief aid. In a world of limited funds, that makes an enormous difference.