Humanitarian aid

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Humanitarian aid:
Is material or logistical assistance provided for humanitarian purposes, typically in response to humanitarian crisis. The primary objective of humanitarian aid is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity. It may therefore be distinguished from development aid, which seeks to address the underlying socioeconomicfactors which may have led to a crisis or emergency.

The emergency relief assistance is provided with a sense of urgency to victims of disasters triggered by natural disasters or armed conflicts, aid consisting in the provision of free goods and services essential to immediate survival (water, food, shelter, medicines and health care).

Include the actionof emergency assistance as follows:
a) Providing goods and services essential to immediate survival
b) This type of intervention tends to have a very limited time frame, normally up to six or a maximum of 12 months.
This help is also provided in the form of protracted for refugees and internal displaceds.


The background of the contemporaryidea of humanitarian aid can be found in different cultures and religions, having captured over history concepts like the charity, or the philanthropy. However, one of the milestones in the development of a modern conception occurred in 1859 with the Battle of Solferino. This battle was led by the army Franco-Sardinian against the Austrian army.

The Swiss businessman, Henry Dunant, was present inthe area and stirred by the high number of death and by the overflow of sanitary equipment, establish in his work: "A Memory of Solferino" that every country have to constitute a voluntary society relief and also they have to be part of the first international treaty guaranteeing legal protection to military hospitals and medical personal. Therefore, in 1864 was created the International Committeeof Red Cross and also began the period of adopting a diversity of international treaties which provided for the wounded soldiers should be collected and cared for. So, begin the development of the international humanitarian law, which is the legal basis for humanitarian action in armed conflicts.


Humanitarian aid is provided in two particularcases:

Each year, conflicts and natural disasters such as hurricanes, droughts, floods and earthquakes affect different parts of the world, causing humanitarian crisis. There are millions of people who suffer and are without shelter, food, water and emergency medicals care.
For the 1990s the number of deaths due to natural disasters is estimated at 665,000. This despite thebenefits of early warning and disaster preparedness measures as well as advances in such basic services as clean water and sanitation. The number of reported disasters has skyrocketed, with three times as many in the 1990s as in the 1960s. Earthquakes and volcano eruptions have held fairly steady in number, but disasters related to water and weather have increased dramatically.

A report by theUnited Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates losses from natural disasters at $400 billion for the 1990s—10 times the amount in the 1960s. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies puts losses for the decade even higher, at $780 billion.

The number, severity and impact of disasters are increasing due to factors such as climate change, massiveunplanned urbanization, rapid population growth and environmental degradation.

Natural disasters occurred and costs

El Niño- phenomenon caused devastating droughts in Southern Africa in 1991-1994.
South and Central America experienced devastating floods and landslides in some areas, droughts in others: In 1998 Hurricane Mitch swept across Central America, killing 10,000 people and...
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