Crisis Overhaul

Valerie Amos, the United Nations’ new under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, is pushing for a new strategy in order to combat the mass disasters that plague the world.

As part of her major funding appeal for the ongoing Pakistan Flood crisis, Amos insisted that lessons must be learned from the large humanitarian disasters of recent years, ranging from the 2004 Asian tsunami to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, reports Google News.

The High waterAmos argues that the ‘business as usual’ strategy used to tackle these massive emergencies are no longer sufficient in a world that is facing increasingly larger mega-crises.  In Pakistan, aid agencies are struggling to cope with the scale of events as millions of people’s homes and farmland have been destroyed by the floods in a nation that is already home to the world’s largest refugee population (mainly from Afghanistan).

Yahoo News also reports that Amos will be conducting a review of how UN agencies and aid groups react to mega-crises.  New thinking is needed, and ways found to broaden funding and increase responses to large disasters.

Meanwhile, flood waters in Pakistan are moving from North to South, creating a ‘new’ disaster every few days and putting a strain on the humanitarian community.  The International Monetary Fund announced last Wednesday it would give Pakistan a $451 million emergency loan, while the European Union is also considering new ways to help.  By Friday, the sheer size of the Pakistan crisis had forced Amos to make a new monetary appeal, substantially higher than the original $460 million request.

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