More with Less: Disasters in an Era of Diminishing Resources

More with Less: Disasters in an Era of Diminishing Resources

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 180
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  • Book Info
    More with Less: Disasters in an Era of Diminishing Resources
    Book Description:

    Natural and human-made disasters are increasing around the world. Hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, and resultant famine, floods, and armed conflicts are constant reminders of the frailty of our human race. Global warming may cause whole island states to be submerged as the oceans rise. In the past these acute and recurring crises have been met by the international community responding to UN and media appeals. The economic collapse of nations is now a reality; some of those most affected had been traditional, generous donors to disaster relief operations. It is unlikely-probably impossible-that they will be able to continue to contribute overseas when their own domestic needs are unmet. A recent New York Times front page report suggested that one of the few domestic issues to have bipartisan support was to cut the foreign aid budget. This book analyzes the global economic forecast and the United Nations pattern of philanthropy, provides a case study of how one nation with a tradition of giving will cope in the face of a marked reduction in flexible funds, and then provides thoughtful chapters on new approaches to disaster preparedness and disaster response. Among the contributors are the Director of UNESCO, the UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Assistance, the Secretary General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, and fresh suggestions from three well-known global entrepreneurs. All royalties from this book go to the training of humanitarian workers.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-5066-0
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser

    Disaster risk is increasing globally. Over the past decade, disasters caused by natural hazards have affected more than 2.2 billion people and killed over 840,000. The economic cost of these disasters was at least $891 billion. These are losses to countries’ welfare and to individual livelihoods and future.

    In 2011 we witnessed a sequence of consecutive disasters caused by earthquakes, tsunamis and weather-related events. At the same time, the world has gone through a financial crisis that has plunged many countries into recession and negatively affected the economic growth of others. This crisis has led to intense scrutiny of expenditure...

    (pp. xv-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xx)
    (pp. 1-8)

    Humanitarian workers, if they are to be effective, must be realists. They deal every day with the cruel facts of human suffering, and no amount of rhetoric can alleviate pain or provide sustenance in times of widespread natural or man-made crises. This book reflects the reality that resources available for disaster preparedness and disaster response have been seriously diminished by the current global economic recession.¹ It documents the evolution of global philanthropy, while also examining alternative methods to reduce costs through better preventive programs and suggesting potential sources for additional future funding for relief operations. It is not unrealistic for...

  7. Preparedness
    • Globalization, Growth, Poverty, Governance, and Humanitarian Assistance
      (pp. 11-33)

      This chapter examines humanitarian assistance to populations afflicted by major natural and man-made disasters in the broader context of the evolution of world poverty in our rapidly globalizing world. Although many natural disasters can and do occur in rich and poor countries alike, they have been, and are generally, more common in the latter than the former, and it is in poor countries that they inflict the most suffering—thus creating the greatest need for humanitarian assistance. When a rich country faces a natural disaster (as for example, Japan from the earthquake and tsunami in 2011), it generally has adequate...

    • WFP: Organizational Maintenance in Uncertain Times
      (pp. 34-49)

      There is nothing compelling about the humanitarian imperative. Any nation large or small is free to put its interests before the rescue of its neighbor. Consequently, the volume of assistance raised for emergencies abroad swells and shrinks according to three overlapping sets of calculations: consideration of national interest, perception of threat to some common good, and pure humanitarian concern. When donor countries are preoccupied with their domestic woes, or if they sense no threat to international order, they are likely to display a degree of indifference to the plight of the vulnerable abroad. That is the way of the world,...

    • Disasters—A Nation’s Experience in an Economic Recession
      (pp. 50-69)

      How does a government which is concerned about the plight of poor people caught up in disasters around the world but which has limited resources to help deliver a good product in terms of disaster response and disaster preparedness? That is the question this chapter addresses, using Ireland as an example of a country that is currently facing this dilemma.

      The Irish people have shown themselves to be remarkably generous over the years in their response to poor people’s needs, especially in Africa. The reasons for this have often been debated. Geopolitical concerns do not feature as they do for...

    • What Can Modern Society Learn from Indigenous Resiliency?
      (pp. 70-74)

      The latest Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2011 found that “a lot of knowledge about climate adaptation is not reaching those who need it the most”—how much more of a challenge is it then to get information, good practices, and capacity-building tools into the hands of indigenous communities using nonmainstream languages, so that they can adapt what’s been learned to their ways of life? This challenge is alluded to in the international blueprint for disaster risk reduction agreed and endorsed by all United Nations Member States, the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) which prioritizes the use of...

  8. Response
    • Providing for the Most Vulnerable in the Twenty-First Century
      (pp. 77-94)

      When discussing disasters, humanitarian response, reconstruction, and risk reduction, it is appropriate to begin with women’s and children’s health. Women and children usually are the most affected by civil conflict, displacement, disaster, and war. As the Beijing Agenda for Global Action on Gender-Sensitive Disaster Risk Reduction (2009) set out: “We are fully aware that women comprise 70 percent of the world’s poor and women are more vulnerable to the impact of disaster due to the existing socio-economic, political and cultural disadvantages.”¹ Millions of children throughout the world are subject to crises that last for years and that compromise their well-being...

    • Noncommunicable Diseases and the New Global Health
      (pp. 95-109)

      When most people in developed countries think of the biggest health challenges confronting the developing world, they envision a small boy in a rural, dusty village beset by an exotic parasite or bacterial blight. But increasingly, that image is wrong. Instead, it is the working-age woman living in an urban slum in a middle-income country, suffering from diabetes, cervical cancer, or stroke—noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) that once confronted wealthy nations alone.

      NCDs in developing countries are occurring more rapidly, arising in younger people, and leading to far worse health outcomes than ever seen in developed countries. This epidemic results from...

    • Humanitarian Response in the Era of Global Mobile Information Technology
      (pp. 110-122)

      Technology is among the most difficult topics to tackle in a chapter designed to be relevant for more than a few months. The digital revolution has brought, and is still bringing, many positive changes to the world. In the humanitarian sector, technology has revitalized worldwide volunteerism through crowd-sourcing, driving closer cooperation between the humanitarian and the for-profit sectors. It has empowered people who receive humanitarian aid and improved the way we manage information.

      These changes have challenged old assumptions and reshaped existing systems in deep and unexpected ways. In this chapter, I will set out what new technology offers us...

    • Disasters and the Media
      (pp. 123-141)

      For the media, a disaster is not a tragedy. It is a challenge, an opportunity. A challenge for the traditional media to find out what is happening, how to get there, what is at stake, who is to blame. For the nontraditional media, the tweeters, Facebook friends, and bloggers, it is how to get the message out, who to include, when to re-tweet someone else’s tweet. And for all of them, there is the chance to inform, to activate, or to enrage for a vast audience always turns to the media whenever a disaster strikes.

      Those are some of the...

    • Toward a Culture of Safety and Resilience
      (pp. 142-159)

      Disasters bring home the fragility of human societies. These events—I personally witnessed the devastation in Japan, Haiti, and Pakistan—remind us of the toll that natural disasters can have in the loss of life and infrastructure, setting development back for decades in some regions. In a context marked by rising incidences of disasters and worsening consequences, the rhythm of international cooperation should not be dictated by the pace of emergencies. Investing in disaster reduction and preparedness today is crucial to save lives and safeguard infrastructure tomorrow. At a time of limited means, it is a prudent investment and it...

    • Education and Disaster Management
      (pp. 160-172)

      Total emergency relief aid spending has increased significantly in the last forty odd years. In 1970 total emergency aid spending was less than $1 billion per year. This figure began to rise sharply in the 1990s, and by 2010 annual spending was over $20 billion per year.¹ The end of the Cold War, the subsequent proliferations of civil wars, and their consequent displacement crises in the 1990s certainly suggest that this increase in spending was driven in part by a concomitant increase in need. A decade into the twenty-first century we are able to observe the “humanitarian international”²—the vast...

  9. Entrepreneurial Approaches
    • Capitalizing on Travel and Tourism in Preparing for Trouble
      (pp. 175-197)

      In January 2005, ironically only days after the Indian Ocean tsunami had claimed 225,000 lives and displaced 1.2 million others, representatives from 168 governments met in Hyogo, Japan, to discuss and then sign a historic framework. The framework, entitled the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), seeks to encourage nations to embed the vital issue of disaster risk reduction and preparedness into the everyday processes of national and local governance. It has at its heart the aim of reducing every nation’s vulnerability to disasters and, in the event that major hazards strike, the ability to respond in such a way as...

    • Business in an Age of Emergency
      (pp. 198-213)

      Businesses have always had a role in helping communities during tough times and especially in response to disasters. After all, business would not exist without its communities. So when tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, or tsunamis strike, businesses must do their part.

      Companies small and large can and often do step into the breach to do what ever they can in the wake of disaster. Many businesses have services and products that can help with relief efforts, and all have communities and networks they can work with to raise awareness and much needed funds during an emergency. During any disaster response,...

    • An Afghan Media Tale
      (pp. 214-228)

      When one thinks of Afghanistan the word “entrepreneurship” does not usually come to mind. More likely are such words as “war,” “terrorism,” “corruption,” and “drugs.” People tend to think of Afghanistan as a disaster zone, and in some places it still is. But there are also many areas of increasing prosperity and change and some key metrics that show great improvement. In some areas entrepreneurial activity has flourished and has probably done more to move the country forward with jobs, connectivity, and social change than anything else since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. In this chapter I will...

    • Terror, Transformed: A Financier’s Journey into Social Entrepreneurship
      (pp. 229-248)

      My story begins innocuously, with a dinner reservation in a world-class hotel. The first part of the story ends twelve hours later after the Indian Army freed us. The second part is, and will forever be, a work in progress: to give back, in the fullest way possible, to a nation that taught me the value of life and how beauty can exist in tragedy.

      My point is not to sensationalize events. It is to express my gratitude and pay tribute to the staff of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, whose actions and sacrifice in the face of disaster...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 249-262)
    (pp. 263-266)
  12. The Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation and the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs
    (pp. 267-268)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 269-275)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 276-276)