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Can there be a quality response?

Our first starting point is that the humanitarian response must meet the needs of the disaster-affected. The starting point is the alignment of the humanitarian agency’s policies to humanitarian principles …

Disaster response and Sphere minimum standards

In the late 1990s, the Sphere Project (now known simply as Sphere) set about defining a set of minimum standards for humanitarian response. The intention was to establish the minimum …

A humanitarian charter and Sphere

The document containing the Sphere standards is prefaced by reference to the humanitarian charter. Underpinned by both International law and humanitarian principles, it provides the ethical and legal basis for …

Humanitarian standards

Humanitarian standards are descended from overarching principles and seek to describe good practice. The sector recognised that with so many actors involved, standards and their application were needed in order …

Pragmatism in principled action

While humanitarian principles form a central guiding core for actions, they can be both reinforcing and antagonistic. They hold a conceptual value, aiming to find a distinction between humanitarians and …

Humanitarian dilemmas

Today, aid workers face an increasingly complex environment fraught with controversy, political battles and multiple organisations operating under an array of mandates. As conflicts and disasters become more frequent and …

Natural Disasters: Capacity and Risk

What is capacity? Capacity is the community’s ability to combat or prevent damage. This is through local resources and expertise, which can be in the form of material possessions, social …

What is vulnerability?

On 18-22 January 2005, at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (WCDR) in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, the proceedings from the conference defined vulnerability as: ‘the conditions determined by physical, social, …

Summary of the week

Congratulations on completing the first week of Humanitarian Action, Response and Relief. This week, we have acknowledged that, despite the increasing emphasis on disaster risk reduction in recent years, huge …

What are our motives to help others?

There are a number of ways in which we can help others. By ‘helping’, we usually mean to make it easier or possible for someone to do something by offering …

Early warning and decision making

Defining a set of conditions that will trigger an early warning is a difficult task. In reality, that exact set of conditions may not occur. This leaves decision makers in …

Pakistan floods 2010

In the next few articles and activities, we will explore the build up to and impact of the floods in Pakistan in 2010 in order to consider the relationship between …