IDSB04H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Land Grabbing, United Nations General Assembly, Humanitarian Aid

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Published on 9 Apr 2018
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Chapter 8
HEALTH UNDER CRISES AND THE LIMITS
TO HUMANITARIANISM
1. How do humanitarian agencies push neoliberal agendas?
2. What are the drawbacks of food and famine relief as provided by humanitarian
agencies?
The World Food Programme (WFP) is the UN’s
food relief agency, the largest humanitarian organization
of its kind. It is entirely reliant on annual food
and cash pledges plus emergency appeals. Despite
recognizing the causes of hunger to include such
socio- political factors as poverty, war and human
displacement, and unstable food prices (WFP 2015),
WFP’s ability to address these underlying issues is
constrained by tied donations from governments,
corporations, and individuals.
The UN can declare famines if governments
fail to do so, as happened in Somalia in 2011
(UN News Centre 2011b). The WFP and UN Food and Agricultural
Organization (FAO) provide emergency food assistance,
daily food programs, and technical assistance
in food and agricultural production and distribution.
These and other agencies deliver food aid to the
most vulnerable groups, but this approach neglects
groups less vulnerable but still in need. While food aid may be needed at particular
moments, recipient countries are often worse off
after receiving food donations. In addition to displacing
local production and jeopardizing the
livelihoods of local farmers, food aid is linked to
dumping, crowding out of other exporters, transnational
companies using their donations to capture
new markets, and profiteering (Kripke 2005). Most
countries give food aid in grant form rather than tied
to donor agri- industry
Food aid can create dependence, especially
when not accompanied by sustainable agricultural
support For the United States the provision of food aid
is as much a political decision as a humanitarian
one. This system allows private
interests to profit from the production, procurement,
packaging, transport, and distribution of
food aid, and via the sale of food surpluses There are growing efforts to reform the food aid
system. In 2007 the NGO CARE took the bold step
of refusing US government support (US$45 million
per year) to deliver food aid, claiming that US
programs risked harming the very people they purported
to help
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3. Define an ecological disaster, providing an example and 2 of its implications
4. Ecological disaster disastrous consequences to organisms (including humans) and the
5. environment caused by concomitant “natural” events (hydro- meteorological, biological, and
6. geophysical) and human- induced events (e.g., climate change or social policies that lead to
7. poorly- constructed housing in geologically vulnerable areas).Ecological disasters,1 provoked by so- called “natural
events” such as major storms and earthquakes, can
cause a great deal of suffering mortality, disability,
and displacement and typically elicit (at least
in the short- term) a highly visible global response
from the public, governments, multilateral agencies,
and a range of humanitarian and nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) and donors. Ecological
disasters lay bare miserable social conditions that
are otherwise not top public health priorities locally
two kinds of ecological
disasters water- related and earthquakes
Tsunami in indian ocean
Water disasters, whether provoked by major storms
and waterway breaks or even minor rainfall alterations,
can wipe out a community’s entire infrastructure,
including housing, schools, roads, workplaces,
and health centers.
The Indian Ocean tsunami (massive wave/ s triggered
by an undersea earthquake) that struck a band of 14
countries on December 26, 2004, killing upwards of
227,000 people in a single day (and thousands more
subsequently), is an extreme example of water devastation
(Telford and Cosgrave 2006). Entire coastal communities were taken by surprise and leveled in
seconds by the force of the wall of water. The impact
of the wave was over in a matter of minutes, but in
many areas coastal flooding continued for days Indonesia was hardest hit, with an estimated
200,000 people confirmed dead or missing. Sri
Lanka saw 35,000 deaths, India 18,000, and at least
half a million people were displaced and lost all of
their possessions in each of the three countries
Extensive media coverage of the tsunami propagated
several myths associated with sudden impact
disasters: that unburied human remains pose outbreak
threats; that survivors face severe epidemics;
and that the most urgent needs are international
medical teams and equipment. However, the risk
of infection from unburied corpses is overstated
(Kirkis 2006), with specific precautions only
required for deaths from cholera or hemorrhagic
fevers. As well, though communicable disease transmission
among the displaced is a legitimate concern,
the risk may be overemphasized (Kouadio et al.
2012). Finally, the most urgent needs are not only for
medical and trauma care, but also for potable water
and food, the provision of which reduces outbreak
occurrence.
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4. What is the difference between a humanitarian emergency and a complex humanitarian
emergency? Provide an example of an agency that would respond to these.
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
political instability resulting in social upheaval and excess mortality (Brennan and Nandy 2001).
Although called emergencies, CHEs may be protracted in durationNatural disasters like earthquakes, floods, famine etc are
humanitarian emergencies that befall suddenly however,Protracted military conflicts frequently deteriorate
into Complex humanitarian emergencies, which involve “total or considerable breakdown
of authority resulting from internal or external
conflict,” leading to severe health and social consequences
and requiring “an international response that
goes beyond the mandate or capacity of any single
agency” (IFRC 2011a). CHEs can last for years or
even decades, as happened in Sudan, Somalia, and the
Democratic Republic of Congo. Most recent CHEs arise from civil wars connected
to failure in the political and diplomatic arena, yet
many of these “internal” conflicts are spurred by
competition among and between local and external
forces for land or valuable natural resources such as
gold, diamonds, or coltan As with famines, declaring a CHE can be fraught
with dilemmas, because it opens the door to UN
presence and, increasingly, military intervention A CHE goes
beyond a humanitarian emergency, typically involving
political and/ or sectarian violence, breakdown
of social cohesion, disease outbreaks, severe food
insecurity, and large- scale population displacement. the Rwandan genocide
illustrates the sheer dimensions of a CHE and its
inseparability from the political economy context.
In April 1994, long- festering inter- ethnic tensions,
largely deriving from colonial hierarchies, spiraled
out of control, and the Interahamwe militia and
Rwandan Armed Forces launched a 100- day massacre
of approximately 1 million people mostly
Tutsis as well as moderate Hutu sympathizers in
their homes, places of worship, and hiding places in
forests and marshes. Roughly 11% of the population,
including 85% of all Tutsis in Rwanda, were exterminated,
with half a million injured and hundreds of
thousands of women and girls raped
for
the agency that has resources and muscle to respond to complex humanitarian emergencies is UNHCR and UN
peace keeping forces. UNHCR deals with refugees problems and IDPS or internally displaced people with in the country.
Un peace keepers enforce and maintain cease fire between warring factions so that aid can be given to wounded and food
delivered, also to save civilians from hostilities.
5. List 5 advantages and disadvantages of humanitarian assistance (at least 2 for each)
6. List and describe two actions to address environmental degradation and climate change at
the
global and national level
7. Describe how militarism relates to public health crises
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Document Summary

The world food programme (wfp) is the un"s food relief agency, the largest humanitarian organization of its kind. It is entirely reliant on annual food and cash pledges plus emergency appeals. Despite recognizing the causes of hunger to include such socio- political factors as poverty, war and human displacement, and unstable food prices (wfp 2015), Wfp"s ability to address these underlying issues is constrained by tied donations from governments, corporations, and individuals. The un can declare famines if governments fail to do so, as happened in somalia in 2011 (un news centre 2011b). Organization (fao) provide emergency food assistance, daily food programs, and technical assistance in food and agricultural production and distribution. These and other agencies deliver food aid to the most vulnerable groups, but this approach neglects groups less vulnerable but still in need. While food aid may be needed at particular moments, recipient countries are often worse off after receiving food donations.

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