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Before 1990 and the emergence of disaster risk reduction or (DRR), humanitarianism, which is fueled by the fervent belief in “the kindness of strangers” remained largely unchallenged as the preferred approach to disaster management. (Hannigan 42). Humanitarian action is taken on a moral claim and human rights are almost always based on a legal claim. Activism and humanitarianism have taken parallel courses in recent years, due to the fact that the basis for intervention has shifted from intervening states toward individual victims of abuses. (Hannigan 43). Not only has there been a shift in intervention, but in how responses to humanitarian emergencies victims find themselves are handled. I will explore the changes in responses to humanitarian emergencies over time.
Prior to World War I, the response to national and natural disasters was seen as a local issue. Humanitarianism hit a milestone when the International Red Cross was created in the nineteenth century. In 1859 Henry Dunant, a Swiss business man organized local women to aid the battlefield wounded near the village of Solferino, Italy during the French-Austrian War. When Dunant returned to Geneva, he proposed that army medical services be provided in times of war by national relief societies whose volunteers would be regarded as “neutral”. (Hannigan 44). Since the IRC’s creation, it has spanned many levels including the American Red Cross. In the aftermath of World War I there was a need for a more permanent way to deal with disasters, which would later be known as the International Relief Union or IRU. It was the only attempt to guarantee relief by treaty. While it was a great idea, it was met with opposition from the British government due to the fact their doubts stem...

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...was in place to put an organized plan into action. The approach was solely out of the recognized need for building systemic capacity for coordinated humanitarian response. (Altay and Labonte 90). Often times when there is an emergency there are many gaps that exists when it comes to what to approach first. The cluster approach fills in these gaps that exist. Yet, with any effort it is always met with those who don’t agree. Many are skeptical of the “U.N. driven” humanitarian efforts and don’t always meet certain organizations expectations. (Altay and Labonte 98). Regardless, the cluster approach is a step in the right direction in humanitarian response. The source provides a newer “approach” on how humanitarian response can improve in the future, something that is not addressed in Keller’s journal article or Hannigan’s outlines of major humanitarian organizations.
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