Fall 2013 Session I: Responding to Natural Disasters
Session I: RESPONDING TO NATURAL DISASTERS (Cases in focus: 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and 2010 Haiti Earthquake)
This session will introduce students to the work of disaster relief in developing countries. The readings and video will highlight the ways that CRS works to alleviate the impact of natural disasters and contributes toward making communities more resilient. Students will learn about CRS’s guiding principles and its commitment to building the capacity of local partners organizations. The session will also include material on the role of the media in bringing international attention to natural disasters. Why do some disasters get more media attention than others? And what role does the media play in attracting funding? Finally, are we sufficiently concerned with the frequency and impact of these disasters as a global, human family? Cases will be drawn from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Recommended resources are in bold.
- Students will be introduced to the key principles of humanitarian action in natural disaster settings and CRS’ core principals.
- Students will learn about the impact of natural disasters via case material.
- Students will learn about CRS’ strategies for saving lives, rebuilding livelihoods, and rebuilding civil society. This will include reflection on creating a more just society than previously existed – through means such as building local capacity and recognizing communities’ resilience.
- Students will learn about the role of the media in international disaster response. This will include reflection on how and why a story is covered by media and whether increased media attention draws donors.
- Students will think about solidarity and the role they might play in responding to acute need worldwide.
1.) Nature of the Problem and Challenges
- “An Introduction to CRS’ Emergency Response Work – Lessons from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami,” Lecture by Chandreyee Banerjee, CRS Emergency Relief Specialist
- “The Crisis in Haiti: An Assessment,” by Ken Hackett (former CRS President) in Journal of Catholic Social Thought, 8:1, 2011, pp. 163-169. Hackett describes the reality on the ground after the Haiti earthquake and best practices for development in the Haiti context.
- “Role and Responsibility of the Media in Disaster Response – Are INGOs and the Media in a Symbiotic Relationship?” Lecture, Tom Price, CRS Communications Manager
- “Understanding the Differences Between Natural and Human-Made Disasters,” Lecture, Jack Byrne, former CRS Country Representative for Pakistan
- “The Indian Ocean Tsunami: Five Years Later,” Catholic Relief Services Report on emergency response
- “Earthquake in Haiti: CRS Responds” 30 second CRS fundraising video created shortly after the earthquake
- If you are looking for a longer film, try “Frontline: The Quake,” a powerful report on Haiti’s 2010 tragedy, with footage of the moments after the quake and context on doing aid work in Haiti. Produced shortly after the earthquake, the video asks what can be done now – and who will do it?
- “How the World Failed Haiti” by Janet Reitman, August 4, 2011 in Rolling Stone. This edgy nine-page article was published about one year after the Haiti earthquake. It discusses the impact of the quake and gives an overview and analysis of the roles of the Haitian government, international public and private donors, and other agencies in Haiti (including many NGOs). This article illustrates the need to save lives in the immediate but also to empower communities to rebuild in a way that promotes sustainable development in the long-term.
- “Subsidizing Starvation” by Maura O’Connor, January 11, 2013 in Foreign Policy. This article gives a critical analysis of US economic policy in Haiti.
- “To Heal Haiti Look to History,” January 21, 2010 op-ed in the New York Times by Mark Danner. Danner pointedly discusses Haiti’s history and the country’s complex historical relationship with the US as a frame for policy recommendations for reconstruction.
- “Media Coverage and Funding for Disasters,” blog post by Maya Brahman, Senior Communications Officer, World Bank.
- Haiti Aid Map, by InterAction
2.) Essential Guiding Principles
- “The Humanitarian Code of Conduct,” Excerpts from CRS Core Protection Training Modules: Participant Workbook, pp. 35-36.
- “The Guiding Principles of Catholic Relief Services – USCCB; The Guiding Principles Addendum” Excerpts from CRS Core Protection Training Modules: Participant Workbook, pp. 29-33.
- “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Excerpts from CRS Core Protection Training Modules: Participant Workbook, pp. 41-46.
- “The Geneva Conventions,” Excerpts from CRS Core Protection Training Modules: Participant Workbook, pp. 47-53.
3.) CRS Strategies: Prevent, Manage, Prepare
- Community Resettlement and Recovery Program in Haiti - Overview of CRS’ emergency response work in Haiti since January 2010.
- “What We Learned: Indian Ocean Tsunami,” Catholic Relief Services Report on emergency response
- Learning from the Urban Transitional Shelter Response by Seiko Hirani. This is an accessible handbook (34 pages, including vibrant photos, graphs, and succinct sections of text) that captures CRS’ experience in creating urban transitional shelters in post-earthquake Haiti. The handbook is meant to show challenges and successes in CRS’ response effort, with an eye toward lessons learned for future disasters.
- Using Vouchers for Emergency Relief in Guatemala - This two-page essay discusses the community empowerment and economic benefits gained in using vouchers for buying relief supplies post-flood (instead of traditional aid) in wake of 2010 Tropical Storm Agatha.
- Flood Resistant Pilot Shelter Project in India This two-page brochure illustrates disaster risk reduction work in flood-prone region in eastern India.
- CRS Helps Young Jamaicans Prepare their Communities for Disasters
4.) What We Can Do
- “Toward a Spirituality of Accompaniment in Solidarity Partnerships,” (full text) by Kim Lamberty (Senior Advisor CRS Haiti Partnership Unit), in Missiology: An International Review, Vol XL, no. 2, April 2012. Lamberty is a theologian and senior CRS staff member with deep experience in Haiti. This article reflects on the “growing movement of solidarity” between US donors and Haitians and encourages reflection on what it means to be a donor (or to do service abroad) in a way that is helpful to the recipient and builds mutual relationships.
- Catholics Confront Global Poverty: Tell Congress to stop careless cuts that will cost lives today!
- CRS University
Note: Any external resources are provided for additional information and do not represent the views of CRS.