Myths and beliefs about natural disasters and the efficacy of international relief efforts
Natural disasters and conflicts are the focal point for humanitarian action. These events, which often receive extensive media coverage, are frequently misrepresented in terms of their effects, causes and the ability of international relief workers to aid the victims. This collection of studies attempts to deconstruct these myths.
In the context of emergency appeals in the Horn of Africa, Rony Brauman recalls the contemporary definition of a famine. While recognising the progress made in major crisis response mechanisms, he questions the alarmist attitude of the UN.
Rony Brauman reviews the myths and mechanisms governing the deployment of international aid following the Southeast Asian tsunami in December 2004.
Fabrice Weissman highlights the political factors at work behind the threat of famine - which, though very real, cannot be fully explained by natural causes - and casts a critical eye on the relief system, as well.