INR 572 Complex Humanitarian Emergencies

Course Description

This course has three main objectives: 1) examine how the destructive effects of complex humanitarian emergencies (CHEs) can be prevented or mitigated, 2) learn about the connections between human security, development, and humanitarian crises, and 3) assess the usefulness of local, national, and international organizations when responding to CHEs. The Indonesian tsunami, the earthquake in Haiti, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and Ebola serve as some of the case studies.

Here is an example of how the course is organized:

Week 2       Hurricane Katrina

Watch:

Read:

  • Anna Livia Brand and Karl Seidman, Assessing Post-Katrina Recovery in New Orleans: Recommendations for Equitable Rebuilding, Community Innovators Lab, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, no date (on Canvas).
  • Charlie Cray, “Disaster profiteering: the flood of crony contracting following Hurricane Katrina,” Multinational Monitor Survey, September/October 2005, p. 19-24.
  • David Helvarg, “The Storm This Time: A Personal Account of Natural and Unnatural Disaster in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina,” Multinational Monitor Survey, September/October 2005, p. 9-18.
  • Kevin Fox Gotham, “Disaster, Inc.: Privatization and Post-Katrina Rebuilding in New Orleans,” Perspectives on Politics 10(3) (September 2012), p. 633-645 (on Canvas).
  • Joseph L Nates and Virginia A Moyer, “Lessons from Hurricane Katrina, Tsunamis, and Other Disasters,” The Lancet 366, 1 October 2005, p. 1144-1146.
  • Irwin Redlener, “Population Vulnerabilities, Preconditions, and the Consequences of Disasters,” Social Research 75(3) (Fall 2008), p. 785-792.

Reading response questions:

  • Should populations affected by CHEs be given financial incentives to relocate rather than rebuild? Why? (Brand and Seidman, Helvarg, Nates and Moyer, Redlener)
  • Should the private sector be kept out of disaster recovery and reconstruction efforts? Why? (Brand and Seidman, Cray, Gotham, Nates and Moyer)

Discussion question:

  • In the case of Hurricane Katrina, why did government agencies fail to take the necessary measures to prevent, contain, or mitigate the impact of a natural disaster on the population of New Orleans? (“The Storm,” Nates and Moyer, Redlener)

Week 3       Indonesia Tsunami

Read:

  • Shannon Doocy et al., “Implementing cash for work programmes in post-tsunami Aceh: experiences and lessons learned,” Disasters 30, 3, 2006, p. 277-296.
  • Neil Joyce, “Civilian-military coordination in the emergency response in Indonesia,” Military Medicine 171, 10, 2006, p. 66-70.
  • Jim Kennedy et al., “The Meaning of ‘build back better’: evidence from post-tsunami Aceh and Sri Lanka,” Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management 16, 1, March 2008, p. 24-36.
  • Philippe le Billon and Arno Waizenegger, “Peace in the wake of disaster? Secessionist conflicts and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, NS 32 411–427, 2007.
  • Harry Spaling and Bryan Vroom, “Environmental assessment after the 2004 tsunami: a case study, lessons and prospects,” Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 25, 1, March 2007, p. 43–52.
  • Rizal Sukma, “Indonesia and the tsunami: responses and foreign policy implications,” Australian Journal of International Affairs 60, 2, June 2006, p. 213-/228.
  • Arno Waizenegger and Jennifer Hyndman, “Two solitudes: post-tsunami and post-conflict Aceh,” Disasters, 2010, 34(3): 787−808.

Reading response questions:

  • Should international actors use responses to CHEs as nation-building exercises? Why? Given your answer, what might be the political effects in the state where the CHE occurred? (Joyce, Le Billon and Waizenegger, Sukma, Waizennegger and Hyndman)
  • Who, if anyone, should receive cash aid in areas of military conflict that suffer a CHE? Why? How can relief organizations ensure that cash payments are used as intended? (Doocy, Kennedy et al., Billon and Waizenegger, Waizennegger and Hyndman)

Discussion question:

  • Should populations affected by CHEs be given financial incentives to relocate rather than rebuild? Why? If you answered this question last week, did your answer change? (Kennedy et al., Spaling and Vroom, Waizenegger and Hyndman)