Humanitarian Aid

Humanitarian Aid is usually considered to be the short-term assistance given to meet the requirements of saving lives, alleviating suffering, and maintaining human dignity during disasters and crises, both natural and man-made. It can include food, water, medical supplies, tents, and other things required by those affected by everything from typhoons to civil wars

Also known as emergency aid, it is distinct from development aid, which aims at long-term economic improvement. As it is short-term, it usually works in the intermediary until the national government can replace it with a sustained long-term solution to the problem.

More comprehensive examples of what humanitarian aid entails include: Material relief assistance and services (shelter, water, medicines etc.), emergency food aid (short-term distribution and supplementary feeding programmes), relief coordination, protection and support services (coordination, logistics and communications), reconstruction relief and rehabilitation (repairing pre-existing infrastructure as opposed to longer-term activities designed to improve the level of infrastructure, and disaster prevention and preparedness (disaster risk reduction, early warning systems, contingency stocks and planning).

Disasters such as earthquakes, floods, famine and war often occur when people least expect them. When disaster strikes, we all have a duty to assist the people affected. Generally, the victims of disaster are assisted by their neighbors, communities and government. In poor countries however, major disasters can easily overwhelm national capabilities. In such cases, the international community must respond.

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