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Investments In ‘Prevention And Anticipatory Action’ Vital To Timely Humanitarian Responses In Emergencies

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Money to burn? The cost of late response to humanitarian crises
Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, and Courtenay Cabot Venton, an international development economist

“The international humanitarian community is trapped in a state of perpetual crisis management. … [A]n upsurge in funding towards peaks of crises is holding humanitarian action in a cycle of escalating costs and late response. … [O]ur dollars could help many more people, and actually avert suffering, if we invested more in prevention and anticipatory action. … In the face of conflict, timely humanitarian response is vital to protect those most vulnerable and caught in the cross-fire, and can mean the difference between life and death. When assistance levels don’t meet the needs of those who need it most, children are less likely to go to school, and people begin to migrate to find a better life, putting themselves and their families at risk. The primary objective of humanitarian aid is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity. We can better fulfill this mandate, but it requires a shift in the way that we all respond to crises” (11/3).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.