Discuss your thoughts on the evolving causes of crises.
Disasters are increasing dramatically year after year. As a result, that places humanitarian institutions at the forefront of every crisis. However, I believe that irresponsibility, corruption, and weak disaster management systems are a fertile environment in which disasters evolve. For instance, people think that damage resulting from natural disasters is no one’s fault. But, looking from a wider angle, the weak infrastructure, the corruption that allowed people to build their houses in flood plain or to build without proper building codes, and the human action that lead to climate change are what lead to disasters. According to Cox & Cox (2014), what kills people during an earthquake is the human-built structure, not the shaking ground. For instance, Haiti’s earthquake in 2010 was one of the most devastating disasters in history that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Still, the absence of building codes was one of the leading causes that led to almost all buildings in the capital to collapse on people (Kirsch et al., 2012).
Moreover, I believe the political games and violence are other reasons that help the crisis to evolve worldwide. Many countries have been suffering from armed conflicts such as Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and the list can go on (Withnall, 2014). According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs OCHA (2019), until early 2019, the number of people in need for humanitarian aid, mostly due to armed conflicts, reached 140 million. Taking this week’s reading as an example, the conflict in Syria resulted in one of the most massive humanitarian crisis in the world (Howe, 2016). For instance, more than 10 million people fled the conflict area to neighbor countries due to violence and terrorism (Howe, 2016). In fact, I can see how a disaster may lead, indirectly, to another humanitarian situation. For instance, in Lebanon, as a neighbor country to Syria, some Lebanese arguing that the Syrians are taking their jobs, which increases the violence towards the Syrians refugees. Consequently, this situation can affect the refugees as well as the Lebanese.
How do you see the described changes impacting humanitarian aid?
There is no doubt that the humanitarian aid system is changing as the causes of disasters are evolving. Corruption, political wars, and the attempts to impose control, that resulted in armed conflict, have impacted negatively on the humanitarian relief operations. However, humanitarian assistance access to some countries affected by politics can be difficult and prevent aid agencies from doing their jobs. Some countries may deny receiving aid and let their citizens suffer for some political games, and that exactly what was happened in Venezuela when the president prohibited aid arrival (NRP, 2019). Furthermore, humanitarian workers are facing the danger of attacks in those countries. During the last ten years, more than 300 have been affected by violence actions (Harmer, 2018). However, some donors use humanitarian crises to provide aid for other purposes, such as getting people to promote their political or other campaigns. Howe (2016) stated that humanitarian action had been affected by donors’ interests and political situations. Overall, the humanitarian situation became more complicated and divergent than before, and serves many agendas other than saving lives.
How would you prepare and respond to this changing landscape?
The preparation for these changes is a collective work among the international aid agencies. I believe that emphasis should be placed on respecting international laws for the relief of those in need. Imposing sanctions is one way to prevent violence and corruption that increase disasters. Moreover, conducting awareness programs about people’s rights to build in safe areas, for example, can decrease the losses of natural disasters. Also, these programs will force the officials in the country to meet people’s needs, and that will expose corruption. Furthermore, before the response to a country where there is a conflict, I suggest having a pre-agreement with the officials in that country, which guarantee humanitarian aid works safety and smooth delivery of the aid. Further, I will conduct programs to educate the responders about safety measures, and where they can go or who they can reach in case of emergency.
Harmer A. (2018). Aid worker deaths: The numbers tell the story. Retrieved from
National public radio. (2019). Humanitarian aid arrives for Venezuela — But Maduro blocks it.
Kirsch T., Sauer L., and Sapir D. (2012). Analysis of the International and U.S. Response
to the Haiti Earthquake: Recommendations for Change. P.200-206. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23077262
Withnall A. (2014). World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually
free from conflict. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/…
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs OCHA. (2019).
Humanitarian relief operations in armed conflict: IHL framework. Reprieved from https://www.unocha.org/sites/unocha/files/Fact-She…
Cox P., & Cox S. (2016). Natural disasters are less natural than you think. Retrieved from
Howe K. (2016). Planning from the future. Retrieved from
The world today is witnessing significant crises because of the changes in the social, political, and economic environment, which are occurring rapidly. But the most serious crisis that is evolving is that related to security that results in violence, endless wars, mass killings, and displacement of millions of people(Coppola, 2016). Today’s disasters come with new challenges to address, and as the world continues to evolve, disasters also are changing. For instance, a warming climate may be resulting in flooding in some areas and drought in other parts. The greatest change impacting the evolution of disasters is the increase in the world population, which results in urban sprawl. Megacities are expanding rapidly, and population growth is expected to result in the evolution of the crisis. In fact, most of these destructive disasters can be curbed if people embrace wisdom, put their common interest upon their desires, and opt for dialogue and patience.
One of the evolving causes of the crisis is internal and external armed conflicts in countries, which result in violence, mass killings, and displacement of people. Consider a country like Yemen, which has been experiencing ongoing conflicts resulting in the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. These conflicts have not only resulted in the deaths of people but have resulted in millions of them being displaced and food insecurity(WFP, 2019). Currently, in Yemen, more than 3.34 million people have been displaced, with almost 65% experiencing catastrophic food gaps, causing serious food insecurity. Another evolving cause of crisis ifs disease outbreaks, which affect the human population(WFP, 2019). Conditions such as overcrowding, displacement, malnutrition, and lack of clean water necessitate the transmission of infectious diseases such as Ebola(Fielding, 2016). These same conditions can cause vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, polio, meningitis, cholera, and yellow fever, which break out in congested areas such as refugee camps and in the cities, resulting in many deaths and high cost of living for people(Lam, McCarthy & Brennan, 2015).
Having an understanding of how disasters are evolving is essential for the humanitarian group to have a plan of action in mind. When a disaster strikes like the Yemen conflict, which resulted in death and food crisis, victims always look up to the humanitarian aid for help. Knowing how conflict can result in devastating effects, humanitarian aid personnel need to recognize populations around the world that are vulnerable to conflicts, diseases, and economic crises(Kapur & Smith, 2011). They should be able to call for a more coordinated, accountable, and strategic approach to respond to the increasing complexities of disasters. For instance, they can learn from the Ebola crisis in West Africa that there was poor leadership, inadequate communication, and differing perspectives when coordinating aid activities(Fielding, 2016).
As an emergency officer, there are various factors that I would consider when preparing and responding to the evolving causes of disaster(Kapur & Smith, 2011). The essential factor to consider when preparing for such disasters is to ensure collaboration and appropriate leadership between members of the organizations. Cooperation and leadership will enable people to work together under strong leadership to come up with appropriate tools to deliver humanitarian aid to places affected. Another essential critical issue is communication because it ensures the right information is at the right place and time(Coppola, 2016). When responding to a crisis, there is a need to improve communication and dialogue on disaster issues to encourage a more inclusive approach to humanitarian aid management. When planning for a disaster event, it is essential for one to have a plan on how to carry out its humanitarian aid activities in place(Fielding, 2016). A plan will set the organization to have a vision and shared goal in rescuing and helping victims of disasters.
Coppola, D (2016).Introduction to international disaster management. Burlington: Elsevier Butterworth-Hein.
Fielding, J. (2016).Report of the Independent Panel on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Ebola Response[Ebook].
Kapur, G., & Smith, J. (2011).Emergency public health preparedness and response. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Lam, E., McCarthy, A., & Brennan, M. (2015). Vaccine-preventable diseases in humanitarian emergencies among refugee and internally-displaced populations.Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics,11(11), 2627-2636. DOI: 10.1080/21645515.2015.1096457
WFP. (2019). YEMEN: This is the world’s largest food crisis. Retrieved 5 December 2019, from https://unwfp.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.h…
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