In the aftermath of large-scale disasters there is a mass mobilization of good will, resources and energy. These emergencies offer a clear path to “be of service” which strikes at the fundamental hardwired core of humanity. There are few tangible opportunities as seemingly straight forward to truly help others in a time of need than in the immediate aftermath of significant large scale emergencies. However, as the frequency and severity of these incidences continue to increase we have to examine whether or not collective well intentioned efforts are actually helpful or if they are in fact detrimental in the longterm.
There is a glib definition of insanity which states “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. This very much applies to the current state of the humanitarian assistance and disaster response community (HADR) and donor culture. Its time to spark a paradigm shift throughout every stakeholder community from individual donors, NGOs, entrepreneurs, government agencies, the private sector to vulnerable municipalities. The vast majority of efforts and resource allocation are reactionary in nature not proactive.
If the “best defense is good offense” then we are far behind the eight ball in regards to dealing with current realties in the most effective manner.
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