Trends and Challenges in Humanitarian Efforts

Each year NGOs, the United Nations, and other various groups around the planet get together to work on humanitarian efforts. Not only is it good to help the poverty-stricken areas for whatever reason such as civil unrest, droughts, famine, intense weather, or natural disaster, but it also keeps the world talking and it is good for international diplomatic efforts. There are quite a few trends and challenges for our humanitarian efforts in 2012, and I hope that we might schedule some time here and talk about that today.

The crisis in Haiti is not over. Of course, it was already a crisis before the natural disaster and earthquake. Many Haitians cannot trust international aid workers, especially after the outbreak of cholera. Although Haiti does have natural resources, which might be licensed to various companies around the world bringing income into the nation, which hopefully it could then turn around and help itself overcome many of the issues, that money flow would not be immediately forthcoming, and with such a corrupt government may never get to its intended destinations anyway.

Due to the ongoing economic crisis in the first world, there is less money to be given to NGOs and the United Nations for the humanitarian efforts, and this definitely puts strain on the system. Still, there are some new folks in leadership there streamlining the UN and thinking more like Six Sigma, so maybe they will fix some of the bureaucracy and inefficiencies to do more with less?

Of course more strain on the system is near breaking point in many places, such as Africa compounded by other challenges and due to the violence, and the inability to get food in, in the first place. It seems various parts of Africa their fighting over religion, resources, pay, and food issues. Fundamentalists from all sides of all competing religions seem to be taking their violence to the street, and blowing things up in a tit-for-tat revengeful fashion. The human toll is tragic and preventing proper progress to stability, democracy, and economic well being for all.

All of this violence makes it difficult to get volunteers and workers into those countries to assist in the process of helping those nations help themselves. Speaking of which, after the Arab Spring there are many nations in the Middle East and North Africa which are under severe stress of their societies, and they have become very untrusting of Westerners, as if to blame the Western World for their own rioting. This could cause a huge challenge with humanitarian efforts, as those civilizations have broken down to the point where distribution, transportation, and the basic essentials needed to run such large populations are in a complete disarray – the system has clearly broken down.

With the European economic crisis there may not be the money available to help out with huge challenges of these types, and therefore, we are only a few disasters away from utter and total chaos in many already problematic regions of our world. Perhaps if those disasters do materialize in 2012, nations will pony up with the funds to help solve those problems. But there are so many problems already currently in existence, with more tension and problems mounting that will inevitably impact humanitarian efforts, as the system is already under maximum stress.

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