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Improving the U.S. Government's Humanitarian Response (Humanitarian Aid and Intervention: The Challenges of Integration)

Ethics & International Affairs 2004, Oct, 18, 2

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The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) was created in 1964 to provide emergency nonfood humanitarian assistance in response to international crises and disasters, in order to save lives and alleviate human suffering and to reduce the economic impact of those disasters. The office operates under the overall mandate of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which is to provide "economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States." (1) OFDA coordinates relief efforts for the U.S. government, and funds relief efforts by UN humanitarian agencies, private nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and other international organizations. In a 1991 amendment to the State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual, OFDA was designated as the lead office for responding to crises involving internally displaced persons. Now the office has extensive experience helping to provide basic shelter, water, sanitation, health care, and even supporting livelihoods to uprooted populations. (2) There is a growing recognition, however, that physical aid is not enough. Having watched in horror during the 1990s as beneficiaries of relief assistance were subjected to wholesale massacres in Bosnia, physical intimidation and extremist indoctrination in central Africa, ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, and countless depredations in other places, policy-makers and the humanitarian community increasingly recognize that providing relief items by day to people who are routinely being killed, raped, or terrorized by night is insufficient. "The U.S. government ... must now place special emphasis on fine difficult question of protecting war-affected populations, especially the internally displaced," a USAID report stated in 2002. "While traditional discomfort lingers in the humanitarian community over mixing human rights with humanitarian assistance programs ... the problem of the 'well-fed dead' must be faced. A necessary part of addressing the broader protection issue will be a far more rigorous and systematic approach to guarding those internally displaced." (3)

Improving the U.S. Government's Humanitarian Response (Humanitarian Aid and Intervention: The Challenges of Integration)
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  • 2,99 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Politics & Current Affairs
  • Published: 01 October 2004
  • Publisher: Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs
  • Print Length: 13 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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