disaster relief

Given the recent stories about Japan’s turn to nationalism, it is sometimes easy to forget how much Japan is influenced by pacifist sentiments. Indeed, even nationalists such as Abe Shinzo have found it necessary to dress up their policies in the language of pacifism. Thus, it is not surprising that Japan’s first National Security Strategy talks of a more “proactive contribution to peace.”

The conference, “Sharing Experiences and Developing Regional Hazard and Risk Picture for Joint Action Plan,” comprised of five thematic sessions during which participants gathered to develop a regional risk picture for informed and resilient development planning through disaster risk reduction mainstreaming for contingency planning.  The event, organised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), was attended by representatives from Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey.

Britain is to spend £1.8bn on the economic development of poor countries next year, more than double the amount spent in 2012-13, the international development secretary announced as part of a "radical shift" in policy that focuses on making it easier to do business in these states.

The immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, such as the typhoon that devastated part of the Philippines on Nov. 8, can bring out the best in the global community. Already we are seeing the world’s governments and citizens responding generously to appeals for aid, reaffirming our shared humanity. The challenge is to ensure that this generosity reaches the people who desperately need it. Relief and reconstruction efforts in the Philippines have much to learn from previous mega-disasters, including, most recently, the massive earthquake in Haiti in 2010.

November 14, 2012

Public diplomacy through the distribution of aid has been a staple component of the public diplomacy strategies of various countries. This month we have seen numerous governments provide aid to the people of Haiti. Since the tragic earthquake of January 12, countless stories of aid diplomacy have appeared in the news.

A new study by the Pew Global Attitudes Project poses the question: Does humanitarian relief improve America’s image. The answer is “not much,” or “not as much as one might hope.” While this may seem unfair, given that the United States spends some $4 billion annually on humanitarian relief, it is perhaps not surprising.

Between humanitarian tours of the Pacific Rim and South Pacific, as well as natural disasters such as typhoons, floods, tsunamis and earthquakes, such a fleet of vessels wouldn’t be idle. The service they could provide the Japanese people, and the goodwill they could generate abroad, could be of far greater value than resources spent on military power.

December 7, 2010

Early Friday morning, fire-fighting planes and firefighters began pouring in from countries around the world, answering Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call for help in fighting the largest forest fire it had ever known...The first arrivals were toy-like yellow planes, sent from Greece. They flew low over the Mediterranean, scooping up seawater. Then they moved inland, pouring the water over the flames.