Following an article co-written by members of the Swiss and Canadian sections of MSF, Fabrice Weissman presents a critical analysis of the arguments put forward by his colleagues. An analysis that could be useful to the entire movement, and to the humanitarian community as a whole.
On 12 January 2010, a high-magnitude earthquake caused numerous buildings in the city of Port au Prince in Haiti to collapse. Tens of thousands of people were killed or injured by falling blocks of concrete. The aftershocks from the earthquake, the predictions made by some seismologists and public rumours prompted fears of a repeat of the disaster. Houses, schools, churches, hospitals and business premises – all the places that had housed the capital’s residents and their main activities – had become lethal traps and a permanent threat.
Behind the scenes in the “natural" disaster community: a discussion with Sandrine Revet and Rony Brauman12/19/2018
To mark Editions MFSH’s publication of Les coulisses du monde des catastrophes « naturelles », on 14 November 2018, CERI (Centre de recherches internationales Sciences Po - CNRS) presented a discussion with its author, Sandrine Revet, CERI anthropologist and co-founder of the Association pour la Recherche sur les Catastrophes et les Risques en Anthropologie (ARCRA), and Rony Brauman. CRASH recommends this book to anyone with an interest in natural disasters and international relations.
Former president of the NGO Médecins Sans Frontières and current director of studies at the MSF Foundation’s Centre de réflexion sur l’action et les savoirs humanitaires (CRASH), Dr Rony Brauman, explains the difficulties involved in obtaining reliable figures on the human costs of natural disasters.
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.
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.
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.
The earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince and neighboring areas has led to a worldwide surge of solidarity which we must fully appreciate because no country could face such a disaster on this scale alone.