OFF THE CUFF is a participative blog run by the Crash. Its purpose is to expose the diversity of experiences and opinions that exist among humanitarian aid practitioners. Online comments as well as direct contributions are more than welcome.
Views expressed on this blog are those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Médecins Sans Frontières
For the past several months, news about food shortages and famines affecting large segments of the East African population have been fueling donation appeals from major public and private aid organizations.
One year after the earthquake in Port-au-Prince, a number of observers and actors are questioning the international aid : reconstruction is at a standstill, homeless people are still facing the same situation and the deadly cholera epidemic reminds us that international aid has not helped to improve the very poor sanitation system.
Using Niger as an example, this text seeks to explore the dilemmas involved in medical responses to child malnutrition when such malnutrition is endemic (strong, permanent presence) and gives rise to seasonal peaks (epidemics) each year.
In May 2010, a convoy of six boats loaded with medical equipment, building materials, school supplies and prefabricated shelters, as well as numerous volunteers, headed for Gaza. This "freedom flotilla" aimed to "break the siege of Gaza". It was stormed by an Israeli commando. Nine activists lost their lives. In this article, Rony Brauman questions the terms used to legitimize or disqualify this initiative and the tragedy that followed. Was the flotilla "humanitarian" or "political"? Is there a "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza or not?
On March 3, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen sent a direct appeal to the humanitarian community. Acknowledging the limits of military force in the stabilization and reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, he wants to create a closer partnership with the NGOs.
Emotions generated by the brutal and murderous character of a natural disaster are not calmed by the feeling that the victims bear a certain responsibility for the origins of the drama.