The Pros And Cons Of International Humanitarian Systems

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This quote from a Nepalese affected by the Earthquake in 2015, shows that the international humanitarian system needs a fundamental reorientation from supplying aid to supporting and facilitating communities' own relief and recovery priorities.
In addition Nigel Fisher, a former Humanitarian Coordinator talks in this Video, how listening to the voices of local communities affected by disaster is essential and a very important part of humanitarian response. “People who are affected and people living in communities and local organization are usually the first responders anyway. And quite often what they think needs to be done may or may not match what the international folks think. If we listen we would perhaps not come with lorry louds of stuff.
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Advantages and disadvantages
Local, national and international actors each offer comparative advantage against each other. In the successive chapter, I will discuss the advantages of national and local actors as well as their disadvantages.
2.1 Advantages of national and local actors
The comparative advantages of local and national actors comparing to international actors are increasingly recognized (IFRC, 2015, p. 14) amongst other due to the following points:
First responders
Local and national actors are normally the first responders and respond in a timely manner (Zyck und Krebs, 2015, p. 3). A report regarding the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia shows, “local people provided almost all immediate life-saving action and early emergency support, as is commonly the case in disasters.” The first 72 hours are the most important ones to save lives, get fewer injuries and less damage. In these critical hours local and national actors are mostly the first and only responders. They can start suddenly after the crisis or even already with advance evacuation, whereas an international actor is normally only able to start after a crisis occurs (Gingerich and Cohen, 2015, p. 18).
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They know about the backgrounds, unaddressed risks, vulnerabilities and inequalities. As they understand the local context it is easier for them to find solutions that reduce underlying risks (IFRC, 2015, pp. 8). A big plus for local and national actors are as well the knowledge of languages, customs, history and power dynamics (Zyck and Krebs, 2015, p. 3). Whereas international aid workers inhabit a world with its own time, space and economics and even more important, its own system of meaning (Fetcher and Hindmann, 2011 cited in Autessere, 2014, p. 5). National and local actors are also better able to reflect and perpetuate existing inequalities in societies. One important thing who often disappears in the background is that local actors know how a crisis may affect women differently from men. It is more likely that a local woman understands specific risk to women and the gender dynamics in a community (Gingerich and Cohen, 2015, pp.

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