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Category Archives: Disaster relief

Does Japan need your donation?

Many aid bloggers and journalists are doing a good job communicating a nuanced message about how to respond to the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

From Stephanie Strom, writing in the New York Times:

The Japanese Red Cross…has said repeatedly since the day after the earthquake that it does not want or need outside assistance. But that has not stopped the American Red Cross from raising $34 million through Tuesday afternoon

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Aid Watch Rerun: Nobody wants your old shoes: How not to help in Haiti

NOTE FROM THE EDITORS: Over the holidays, we’ll be publishing reruns of some of our posts from the first 2 years of Aid Watch. This post originally ran a week after the Haiti earthquake, on January 16, 2010.

The following post is by Alanna Shaikh. Alanna is a global health professional who blogs at UN Dispatch and Blood and Milk.

Don’t donate goods. Donating stuff instead of money is a serious problem…

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Can the story on US food aid get any worse?

Hundreds of thousands of malnourished children are receiving poor quality and even harmful food aid because of the slow introduction of more nutritious alternatives, a medical charity has warned.

The US is continuing to donate directly to relief agencies fortified flour mixes of corn and wheat with soya that do not meet international standards agreed in the 1960s…

…older corn-soy blend (CSB) pre-mixed foods donated by the US contained insufficient micronutrients, anti-nutrients that interfered with

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This just in: there was a flood in Pakistan

We have chronicled here on Aid Watch how media coverage of disasters influences disasters, and how late the US media has been to the story of the disastrous flood in Pakistan, with apparently anemic donor response as a result.

Puzzlement deepened this morning at 7:30 am when I picked up my NYT off my doorstep and saw the four column front-page headline: Much of Pakistan’s Progress is Lost in Its Floodwaters.  The NYT devotes…

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Laura in NYT debate on Can Aid Buy Taliban’s Love?

NYT DEBATE: Can Flood Aid Weaken the Taliban in Pakistan?

Or is it more likely that extremist groups will capitalize on the chaos created by the disaster?

Laura Freschi’s answer: aid doesn’t help with the Taliban, but give anyway.

The idea that flood aid will change Pakistani perceptions about the U.S. in a lasting and meaningful way is both unproven and based on simplistic, even condescending assumptions about the beneficiaries of

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Is it OK to neglect disaster in Pakistan because it’s not a tourist destination? If not, see below

The latest story on the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan is about how it hasn’t been a story.

Compared to the response to the Haitian earthquake, media coverage of the Pakistan floods has been paltry. While news coverage isn’t correlated with need, it does have a major effect on the amount of disaster relief aid given. An article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy yesterday reported that eleven US charities had so far raised only…

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Wishful thinking on Pakistan

From last weekend’s New York Times:

As the Obama administration continues to add to the aid package for flood-stricken Pakistan — already the largest humanitarian response from any single country — officials acknowledge that they are seeking to use the efforts to burnish the United States’ dismal image there.…

American officials say they are trying to rekindle the same good will generated five years ago when the United States military played a major role

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US food aid policies create 561 jobs in Kansas, risk millions of lives around the world

I read recently the First Law of Policy Economics: Every inefficiency is someone’s income.

US food aid policy is definitely no exception, and it is riddled with inefficiencies.

Exhibit A: This invitation from a coalition of big US shipping interests to an event in Washington today. At this event, USA Maritime will have tried to convince lawmakers and their staff that ancient and outdated US food aid legislation, which requires virtually all US food aid…

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Of mangos and plastic crates

Sometimes the things that keep people in poverty seem so small and so insignificant, and the remedies seem so simple, that it’s hard for people from rich countries to understand why they remain impoverished.

Jelen, a Haitian farmer living on about $2 a day, can’t get enough water to her mango trees, even though there is a river just beside her property. She needs a simple canal dug from the river to irrigate her…

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Are aid donors now running Haiti?

This post is written by Daniel Altman

Who will determine Haiti’s future?  Probably not the Haitians.  With aid groups enlarging their presence on the ground and foreign governments exercising control through their wallets, Haiti’s future may be out of the hands of the Haitians for years to come.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the recently convened Interim Committee for the Reconstruction of Haiti (CIRH), which will set the nation’s priorities during an 18-month state…

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