The Humanitarian Relief Paradigm

  • Krish W. Ramadurai
  • Sujata K. Bhatia
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Bioengineering book series (BRIEFSBIOENG)


When we close our eyes and picture a humanitarian crisis, we are likely to see an aurora of chaos, conflict, anger, fear, and mortality that lingers over a large group of people. However, we are also likely to see a slew of responding multilateral relief agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that deploy and respond to catastrophe. The deployment of these agencies, whether it be the United Nations (UN), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Health Organization (WHO), etc., generally follows a very long and complex interventional deployment strategy that involves numerous operating components. The aid delivery complex is generally not streamlined and often deals with a wealth of bureaucracy and dissonance between intervening agencies and the host country they are operating in. We can see how complex this process is from previous historical events such as the Haitian Earthquake in 2010 or the Rwandan genocide in 1994, where the very same agencies—i.e., the UN in these cases—that were supposed to help, actually become implicated in not providing adequate relief services. The interventional capacity of any agency is vital in not only stabilizing and promoting conflict resolution but also in the delivery of human health services via humanitarian medicine. Aid and relief practitioners and workers rely on access to equipment, services, and tools in order to provide adequate treatment and palliative care. What we will seek further on in this work is that oftentimes these individuals do not have sufficient access to the resources and materials they need to deliver care and health services to not only treat acute maladies but also chronic ones as well. But first we begin by defining the humanitarian aid complex and its deployment in real-world settings, emergencies, and crises around the world.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krish W. Ramadurai
    • 1
  • Sujata K. Bhatia
    • 2
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Chemical & Biomolecular EngineeringUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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