Humanitarian Aid

Topics: United Nations, Humanitarian aid, Médecins Sans Frontières Pages: 5 (1484 words) Published: July 3, 2011
Humanitarian Aid as a Strategic Response

Humanitarian Aid as a Strategic Response
Many governments and intergovernmental organizations rely on nongovernmental organizations to implement their decisions in areas such as humanitarian relief and economic development. Humanitarian aid and cash donations for Haiti's earthquake victims have been pouring in after the disaster took place. Though useless goods can clog the humanitarian chain of supplying the affected populations with the necessities regardless of the generous intent, requiring the United Nations humanitarian relief agencies to restrict the types of humanitarian goods that are accepted and establish a process that certifies and regulate the type of aid that is accepted. Affected Nations and Population

The humanitarian response effort to the Haiti earthquake provided thousands of inappropriate items, though many of the items received may have a long-term need, they were inadequate for the initial response. Several governments believe it was their obligation to provide relief aid, and because of political motivations, they did not consider if their donations were appropriate or not. Regulating humanitarian aid was an idea that some groups offering aid considered controversial because they were attempting to supply affected population with potential needs. The government of Haiti imposed a review process for the system that receives monetary donations, but little has been done to ensure an expeditious delivery of the donated goods. “For a country such as Haiti, implementing procedures to monitor imported relief aid would be extremely difficult, if not impossible because of the amount of relief organizations that have a significant impact on inappropriate aid, but want to be seen giving away huge amounts of items that were not needed” (Lynch, 2010).

More than 400 relief organizations had deployed to Haiti within weeks to provide aid in the form of water, temporary housing, and medical supplies, but many of the goods supplied had no immediate use. Organizations such as The World Health Organization had to delay its contribution of medical supplies to Haiti because it had to conduct an inventory of its medicines and destroy what was unusable. The U.S. military also participated in deficient relief efforts by providing the affected citizens of Haiti with food items such as Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) that the primarily Creole and French-speaking population could not read the instructions on how to prepare them because they were written in English. Other shortcoming included the United Nations failing to coordinate with military authorities, local charities, and private organizations willing to participate in the relief activities. “Humanitarian actors in Haiti received more than $70 million in offers from the private sector, but the U.N.’s relief agencies were unable to respond to these offers as bureaucratic systems and procedures for receiving and utilizing such support had not been pre-established” (Hornbeck, 2010).

Value of Multination Economic Cooperation

The value of multination economic cooperation in the humanitarian efforts for Haiti clearly displays the importance of developing procedures for an effective response for similar situations in the future. Government and nongovernmental organizations must develop guidelines that illustrate a coordinated effort of various nations to supply the needed assistance for those affected by such disasters. Immediately supplying the affected population with necessities such as food, clothing, water, shelter, and medical treatment should be the primary objective, and all organizations should be encouraged to make donations. The destruction caused by the earthquake was horrendous, and what infrastructure that existed prior to the earthquake was badly damaged. Power supplies, naval ports, and roads were either destroyed or buried. The Government of Haiti does not possess the necessary capacity of...
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