The Crisis Caravan

The Crisis Caravan

What's Wrong With Humanitarian Aid?

Book - 2010
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Baker & Taylor
A controversial exposé of corruption in the world of humanitarian aid covers such topics as how aid supplies are diverted to military recipients, the aid strategies used by insurgents and realities about the principle of impartiality, in a report that proposes specific regulations.

McMillan Palgrave

A no-holds-barred, controversial exposé of the financial profiteering and ambiguous ethics that pervade the world of humanitarian aid

A vast industry has grown up around humanitarian aid: a cavalcade of organizations—some 37,000—compete for a share of the $160 billion annual prize, with "fact-inflation" sometimes ramping up disaster coverage to draw in more funds. Insurgents and warring governments, meanwhile, have made aid a permanent feature of military strategy: refugee camps serve as base camps for genocidaires, and aid supplies are diverted to feed the troops. Even as humanitarian groups continue to assert the holy principle of impartiality, they have increasingly become participants in aid's abuses.

In a narrative that is impassioned, gripping, and even darkly absurd, journalist Linda Polman takes us to war zones around the globe—from the NGO-dense operations in "Afghaniscam" to the floating clinics of Texas Mercy Ships proselytizing off the shores of West Africa—to show the often compromised results of aid workers' best intentions. It is time, Polman argues, to impose ethical boundaries, to question whether doing something is always better than doing nothing, and to hold humanitarians responsible for the consequences of their deeds.



Blackwell Publishing
"Marvellous, strange, and profound...Carries echoes of the African writings of Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene, and in a tone that is both disillusioned and fearless."---The Guardian

"A blood-boilingly good polemic that should knock a few halos off a few heads."---The Sunday Telegraph

"Unflinching...The intrepid Polman is a reporter of conspicuous courage...A tour de force."---The Sunday Times

"Vivid, concise, the pages of this necessary, contentious book burn with a righteous moral anger...A timely reminder that noble intentions and humanitarian motives are often stretched to, and beyond, breaking point in the febrile world of modern-day war."---The Daily Telegraph

"Essential reading. If this book can serve as a rallying cry to more radical, redistributive humanitarian alternatives, then it will have more than fulfilled its function."---The Times

"This disturbing account of the multibillion dollar juggernaut that is today's global humanitarian aid network raises profound questions not just about the palliative efficacy of aid, but whether it fuels and prolongs conflict...Deeply troubling."---Financial Times

"A withering catalogue of corruption, incompetence, and an aid industry that lives in unholy symbiosis with politicians and the military...The account of Afghaniscam is wonderfully awful. This is an exhilarating book."---The Scotsman

A vast indutry has grown up around humanitarian aid, with cavalcades of organizations---an estimated 37,000---following the flow of money and competing for the biggest share of a $120-billion annual prize. To warring parties as well, humanitarian funds and supplies represent a business opportunity; indeed, aid has become a permanent feature of military strategy. But even as the humanitarian principle of impartiality is trampled underfoot by warlords, insurgents, mercenaries, and national governments, the aid operations continue to assert their claim of neutrality.

In a narrative that is impassioned, gripping, and darkly absurd, journalist Linda Polman exposes the flaw in the claim. She travels the globe's war zones, from NGO-dense operations in "Afghaniscam" to the floating clinics of Texas Mercy Ships dropping anchor to proselytize on the shores of West Africa. In the process, she shows a humanitarian world participating in the abuse of its aid: refugee camps serve as base camp for genocidaires; aid supplies are diverted to fuel a war economy; "fact-inflation" ramps up disasters to bring in more funds.

It is time, Polman argues, to impose ethical boundaries, to question whether doing something is always better than doing nothing, and to hold humanitarians responsible for the sometimes deadly consequences of their deeds. Calling for a radically new approach to aid, The Crisis Caravan marks a turning point in the humanitarian debate.

Baker
& Taylor

An examination of corruption in the world of humanitarian aid covers such topics as how aid supplies are diverted to military recipients, the aid strategies used by insurgents, and realities about the principle of impartiality.
Linda Polman takes us to war zones around the globe to show the often compromised results of aid workers' best intentions. It is time, Polman argues, to impose ethical boundaries, to question whether doing something is always better than doing nothing, and to hold humanitarians responsible for the consequences of their deeds. --from publisher description

Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books, 2010
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780805092905
Characteristics: 229 p
Additional Contributors: Waters, Liz

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