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The earthquake in Japan and resulting tsunami brings up an issue that countries face after a disaster. When disaster strikes, what is the role of the humanitarian sector?
Even when a government is equipped to respond to a disaster, the humanitarian sectors is among the first responders and often has a presence in the country for years after. Using the millions, and sometimes billions, of aid dollars that pour in from private donors and governments, the humanitarian sector typically has the resources to move quickly in the face of a disaster.
However aid organizations, as a group, are largely not monitored or held to standards of practice as you might see in the private sector. Furthermore aid organizations are often in competition with one another for securing donations. This rivalry fosters an environment where organizations do not work closely with one another, which can lead to scattered aid initiatives that lack an overall approach to recovery.
That being said, governments are often unable to respond effectively to disasters and the role of aid organizations is extremely important to those people, communities and countries impacted by disasters.
I would love to hear your thoughts on disaster recovery and the humanitarian sector!
To see what many NGO’s are doing to respond to crises and disasters, visit: http://www.trust.org/alertnet/.