Topic: Natural disasters

How will political and economic shocks drive social change? Please help me write a paper…..

Something almost unprecedented has occurred – I’ve finished an article early. Oxfam Peru is a redoubt of intellectuals and every year publishes an annual collection of essays on the state of Peru and development in general. This year they’ve asked me to focus on shocks and change, so I’ve donned my false beard and cardigan […]

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Getting Somalia Wrong and other background reading for today's big conference

On 3 February, the UN declared that there were no longer famine conditions in southern Somalia, but six months since that famine was declared, Somalia is still in the throes of its worst humanitarian crisis in decades. Nearly a third of the population remain in crisis, unable to meet essential food and non-food needs. Key […]

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Crises in a new world order: challenging the humanitarian project

Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s senior policy adviser on this kind of thing, introduces a big rethink of Oxfam’s humanitarian work When it comes to humanitarian crises, Oxfam specializes in the appropriate acronym of ‘WASH’.In 2011, hundreds of Oxfam staff delivered water and sanitation and other relief to millions of people afflicted by drought, floods or earthquakes. But […]

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Why seasonality is back and that's a good thing

A Welsh friend of mine once came back home after a long stint in Nicaragua. A mate picked him up at the airport and on the long drive back to Cardiff, Alun turned to him and asked ‘so, how’s the harvest been this year?’ His friend looked at him as if he’d gone mad. Which […]

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Why did help arrive so late? Evidence v Incentives in the Horn of Africa drought.

Oxfam and Save the Children have a new paper out today that worries away at the baffling fact that lots of organizations knew disaster was looming in the Horn of Africa (and said so), but the system was largely unable to respond until people actually started dying. From the exec sum of A Dangerous Delay: […]

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Investing in people or building more stuff: which is better for reducing disaster risks?

This is a guest post from Chris Anderson, Oxfam’s global adviser on disaster risk reduction  While the global humanitarian response system is more effective and sophisticated than ever before, in its current form it’s being outstripped by the pace of increasing risks. The answer is Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), which makes great financial sense if […]

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Power and change – how do they fit in development work?

This is a summary of a briefing paper I bashed out for last week’s discussion on ‘how change happens’ with Oxfam’s big cheeses (with thanks to Jo Rowlands and Thalia Kidder for their help). It’s work in progress, so all comments and suggestions very welcome. In the last few years, ‘how change happens’ (HCH)  has gone […]

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The Spider Trees of Sindh

An unexpected side-effect of the flooding in parts of Pakistan has been that millions of spiders have climbed up into the trees to escape the rising flood waters. Because of the scale of the flooding and the fact that the water has taken so long to recede, many trees have become cocooned in spiders webs. […]

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Why don't more NGOs work on water? Guest post from Dan Yeo, WaterAid

Daniel Yeo, Senior Policy Analyst at WaterAid (twitter handle @yukinosaru), indulges in some outrageously blatant lobbying about why Oxfam should do more on water. A few weeks ago, Duncan posted his reflections on Oxfam’s discussions on water. As pleased as I am about Oxfam’s interest, it begs the question, why haven’t more development NGOs dived into water […]

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Religion and Development: what are the links? Why should we care?

Wilton Park is a wonderful place for a conference – a stately home nestling in glorious English countryside. These days it is used for high minded seminars on global governance, foreign policy etc, linked to the British Foreign Office, but the hosts take care to ‘fess up to the irony that the aristocratic pile was […]

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Arab and Muslim aid v the UN system – “two china elephants”

This is an edited-down version of an excellent longer piece by the IRIN humanitarian news agency Many of the crises of recent years have affected Muslim people, including the Bam earthquake in Iran in 2003, the Southeast Asian tsunami of 2004, the Pakistan earthquake of 2005, the attack on Gaza in late 2008, and the […]

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Responding to emergencies: is the centre of gravity shifting away from the UN towards national goverments?

Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s Senior Policy Adviser on this kind of thing, explores the shifting sands of humanitarian aid policy After a flurry of reviews and new policies on all aspects of aid, the UK put out its new humanitarian policy, Saving Lives, Preventing Suffering and Building Resilience, a couple of weeks ago. Not every word is […]

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