IDSB04H3 Chapter 8: IDSB04 Chapter 8 Reading

International Development Studies
Course Code
Anne- Emanuelle Birn

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IDSB04 Chapter 8 Reading
Chapter 8 Health Under Crises and the Limits to Humanitarianism
Key Questions
- What are the different types of humanitarian crises and in what ways are they affected by human action?
- How does responding to health under crisis situations different from addressing ongoing health needs?
- What should be the responsibility of global health humanitarians in the face of war and militarism?
- There are inequalities in preparedness between and within countries that are seen with the differences in disaster responses
o Most HICs invest in public health and emergency preparedness while LMICs lack the funds to do so
- Political economy demonstrates this in allowing or worsening the crisis
- Human-made crises that are shaped by militarism, contests for power and contemporary and longstanding conflicts over
access to land, minerals and other resources
o These events can create humanitarian emergencies that force death, disease and displacement for the population
Box 8-1 Definitions and Classifications
Crisis = Critical incident that involves death, serious injury, or threat to a significant amount of people or animals, or damage to the environment
Humanitarian emergency = a crisis characterized by large population displacement, food shortages, and social disruption, necessitating a humanitarian response
Complex humanitarian emergency (CHE) = a situation of civil strife, armed conflict or war, or politic instability that results in social upheaval and excesses morality
Refugee = according the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, a person who has fled their own country because of well-founded fears of persecution
based on race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political affiliation)
Asylum seeker = a person who enters a country and appels to State authorities for refugee status
Internally displaced person (IDP) = a person who has been forced from his/her home for similar reasons as a refugee, but who remains within the internationally
recognized borders of his/her country.
Disaster = a sudden, calamitous event that serious disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental
losses that go above the comuity’s o soiety’s aility to ope usig thei o esoues
Eologial disaste = disastous oseuees to ogais ad the eioet aused y ooitat atual eets ad huan-induced events
Ecological Disasters and their Implications
Key questions:
- What are the public health implications of hurricanes, tsunamis, cyclones, typhoons, floods, earthquakes, droughts, and
related disasters?
- What is the role of international actors and agencies in disaster assessment, response, preparedness, and mitigation?
- Ecological disasters cause a lot of suffering
- LMICs go through about the same number and intensity of ecological shocks at richer nations but experience many more
o These shocks exacerbate the pre-existing deprivation experienced by disadvantaged communities which result in
extensive and long-term damage
Major Storms, Floods, and Tsunamis
- These disasters and wipe out a whole community (housing, schools, roads, workplaces and health centers)
- They are the most devastating to the most vulnerable populations, whose living and neighborhood infrastructure is already
precarious, who receive the least attention from governments, and who have the fewest resources to escape and mitigate
the effects of disasters and rebuild afterward
Tsunami in South Asia
- The Indian Ocean tsunami (massive waves that were triggered by an undersea earthquake) it killed thousands of people in a
matter of minutes
- Of the 14 countries that were hit, Indonesia was hit the hardest
o Their military delivered supplies of food and water, cleared roads, and repaired bridges
o The military that were the responders after the disaster were the same ones that committed human rights abuses
that caused thousands of civilian deaths because of their efforts
- Billions of dollars were raised amongst NGOs, governments of countries, UN agencies etc. and many people were sent over
to help
Storms of the Caribbean and Central America
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- Hurricane Katrina caused a storm surge of over 20 feet which resulted in large-scale damage to Louisiana and Mississippi
- Thousands of people fled before the storm hit but there were significant people who could not leave due to the lack of
o The US government blamed the people who were left behind when the hurricane hit since there was an
eauatio, the people ke hat as oig ut hat the goeet did’t oside as that soe people
did’t hae the eas to leae
- The hurricane destroyed many hospitals, clinics and public health facilities
- This storm was a disaster waiting to happen this is because over the years, large tracts of marshland that were designed to
protect against a storm were drained a paved for short-term profit
- Cuba had an exceptional record of coping with hurricanes
o They perform several storm preparation exercises every year and encourage everyone to participate
o This has resulted in minimal fatalities
- What this hurricane did for New Orleans was expose inequalities (racism and classism) which determined who lived and who
- These cause the greatest damage to people and infrastructure and affect the most regions
- Kashmir was hit with an earthquake
o It was difficult to get the people the help they needed since it was an area marked by poverty and dearth of health
Shifting from Response to Preparedness
- Disaste isk edutio’s peetio opoet ioles atios that lesse the haes of a disaste ouig
o Ex. Aiding farmers to diversify their crops and sources of income which can prevent famine
- This campaign is to instill activities that reduce the impact of the disaster when it happens ex. Making a disaster plan,
building seawalls, requiring buildings to be earthquake-proof
- At the international level, early warning systems have expanded, so have volcano monitoring systems which allow for enough
time to evacuate an area
Famine and Food Aid
Key Question:
- Why and how are famine and food aid political issues?
- Famines are not sudden ecological disasters but rooted in political and economic circumstances that are linked to lack of land
tenure, war and forced displacement
Root Causes of Famines and Hunger
- About 800 million people are chronically malnourished
- Unsustainable growing practices, conflict and delays around food aid, internal displacement, food scarcity, lack of
government support in providing food, food shortages
Politics of Food Aid
- World Food Programme WFP is the UN’s food elief agey that is eliat o aual food ad ash pledges their ability to
address underlying issue of hunger, they are constrained by tied donations from governments, corporations and individuals
- According to the UN, only extreme cases of food insecurity should be declared a famine criteria is 20% or more of
households facing extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope; acute malnutrition rates over 30% and death rates
that go over two people per day per 10 000 people
- Most large bilateral aid agencies are involved in food aid where they provide emergency food assistance, daily food programs
and technical assistance in food and agricultural production and distribution
o What these agencies deliver food aid to the most vulnerable group but neglects the group less vulnerable but are
still in need
- When countries receive food donations, dumping, crowding out other exporters, transnational companies using donations to
get new markets and profiteering all tend to occur, which can make recipient countries worse off
- Food aid can create dependence
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