COVID-19 is Forcing a Reckoning for the Humanitarian Aid Industry


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In the short history of modern humanitarianism, great crises have often inspired reform in how the international community approaches emergency situations.

Jessica Alexander wrote a sweeping review of how big crises over the last thirty years have compelled the humanitarian aid sector to change how it operates. Her article culminates with a discussion of how the current COVID crisis is forcing a new kind of reckoning in the aid sector.

Jessica Alexander is a longtime humanitarian worker and editor of The New Humanitarian's Rethinking Humanitarian Series, which is where her article appears. She is also the author of Chasing Chaos: My Decade in and Out of Humanitarian Aid

We kick off our conversation discussing how the aftermath of the Rwanda genocide in the mid 1990s gave rise to a more formalized humanitarian aid sector. We then discuss how big crises like the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and the 2010 Haiti Earthquake forced changes to how international humanitarian relief operates, before having a conversation about how COVID might force some fundamental changes in the aid sector.

Rethinking Humanitarianism

Chasing Chaos, My Decade in and Out of Humanitarian Aid

World Food Program podcast episodes

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