*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Get local aid, urge agencies

by
22 November 2013

By a staff reporter

AP

Debris: Haitian barber Raymond Matin, left, is helped by a friend to retrieve a chair from the rubble of his shop in downtown Port-au-Prince, on 30 Jan. 2010. Mr Matin, who lost his fourteen-year-old daughter in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12, returned to work with the few things he found among the debris of the business he owned for 26 years 

Debris: Haitian barber Raymond Matin, left, is helped by a friend to retrieve a chair from the rubble of his shop in downtown Port-au-Prince, on 30 ...

INTERNATIONAL aid agencies are missing chances to help survivors of large-scale disasters by failing to work with local organisations, a new report has warned.

Aid agencies that go into places after floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, or other disasters could help more if they worked with organisations in each area, which have in-depth local knowledge to deliver humanitarian aid, researchers for the study found.

The report, Missed Opportunities, was commissioned by the charities ActionAid, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, and Tearfund, and is based on responses to four crises: the Haiti earthquake, the Kenya famine, the Pakistan floods, and the conflict in the Congo. The first three of these took place in 2010.

All five of the charities work through partner organisations, but their report says that the international sector as a whole has failed to invest enough in local partnerships.

Andrew Carnwath, of Christian Aid, said: "Local and national organisations play a crucial part in saving lives and rebuilding communities after disasters, but are too often sidelined by the international humanitarian system. This research brings strong evidence of the benefits they bring after emergencies, and calls for a fundamental change to the humanitarian system, to strengthen their role."

Researchers say that they found that local partnership meant that the aid response was more appropriate and effective, as well as achieving better value for money. They warn that the current international aid system is at breaking point, and will not be able to respond to a rise in complex emergencies without working more in partnerships.

The report says: "Continuing to miss this opportunity in the face of growing vulnerability and risk is a potential tragedy among the other inevitable tragedies that will occur."

Working with local organisations also helps to defuse any resistance to aid, especially in politically sensitive areas such as Burma, it states.

Jan Cocking, of Oxfam, said: "We are seeing, and will continue to see, an increase in the number of people affected by disaster. We cannot possibly respond to this increase without a radical shift in the way we do things.

"It makes both economic and moral sense to invest much more in helping to build local capacity to cope with and prepare for more disasters. This will mean working in partnership with local people, organisations, and authorities. It does not mean sub-contracting because it is cheaper; it means a real partnership between organisations that can help each other to help those in most need, better and quicker."

Church Times: about us

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)