In this interview conducted by Claudine Vidal in 2012 and published in the book Agir à Tout Prix (Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed: the MSF experience), Rony Brauman speaks about emergency humanitarian aid set up following natural disasters. Time constraints, access to victims, cooperation with local institutions, misleading representations of the disasters' effects, controversial assessments of the number of casualties; various topics related to these interventions are discussed and illustrated with specific examples.
In a report titled "A Dangerous Delay", Oxfam and Save the Children rebuke everyone - governments, humanitarian organisations, the United Nations - who participated in the humanitarian response to the food crisis that struck the Horn of Africa in recent months.
In the context of emergency appeals in the Horn of Africa, Rony Brauman recalls the contemporary definition of a famine. While recognising the progress made in major crisis response mechanisms, he questions the alarmist attitude of the UN.
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.
The United Nations announces a famine and that 12.4 million people are threatened by drought in the Horn of Africa. Radio and television repeatedly broadcast an appeal for donations to UNICEF, brandishing disturbing figures.
Fabrice Weissman highlights the political factors at work behind the threat of famine - which, though very real, cannot be fully explained by natural causes - and casts a critical eye on the relief system, as well.