Who is in charge of worldwide disaster relief efforts?

  1. I am doing research on the Haiti earthquake and the disaster response. It seems as though the efforts were very disorganized. I was wondering who is in charge of worldwide disaster relief efforts, especially in a country like Haiti where their own government does not take charge. Is it the WHO, the UN, or is it kind of a "free for all" of sorts where everyone just tries to help out as much as they can?
    -Thanks in advance!
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    About swngstr, BSN, RN

    Joined: Jun '13; Posts: 6


  3. by   itsmejuli
    I can think of a few ways to Google the information you're seeking
  4. by   meanmaryjean
    Well, being as we have 200+ independent, sovereign nations in the world....
  5. by   swngstr
    I did use google and I came up empty. Any specific advice?
  6. by   Silverdragon102
    I suspect it is a free for all. I can't say I have noticed any agency come straight out and take command. Red Cross do a lot
  7. by   Ron N
    It is a free for all. Haiti had UN responders (international government coordination), Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and other organizations--plus individuals who just "showed up".

    These organizations do communicate with each other, but they have their own goals, values, and logistics systems.
  8. by   swngstr
    Thanks for the response! That is kind of what I was thinking too. It is too bad there is no one over worldwide disaster planning in cases like these, it seems like there would be a ton of redundancies and just add to the overall chaos!
  9. by   Ron N
    I disagree. As Mary said, there are a lot of sovereign nations (195 currently). While affluent countries handle disasters "in-house" (Japan, USA, Australia, etc); the ones that need outside support are not likely to want another party to have so much say in planning--until they need it. Heck, we can't even agree as a global population on who needs drinking water.

    That being said, multiple organizations allows for redundant supply chains (actually a good thing); plus each organization usually has its own pace and political stance which alters time to ground and access. Countries are responsible for their own disaster response plans--we go to places that don't have adequate resources for the specific disaster, but acquiesce to the local government as needed.

    The UN is recognized by members as being in charge; but if they were the only organization in charge, people in Syria would not be receiving treatment right now (as one of many examples of aid organization access and priority).

    Only in a worldwide utopia should one organization have that much oversight. In the meantime, multiple organizations equals redundancy, which ensures care reaches affected populations.