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Emergency public health and humanitarian assistance in the twenty-first century 

Emergency public health and humanitarian assistance in the twenty-first century
Chapter:
Emergency public health and humanitarian assistance in the twenty-first century
Author(s):

Les Roberts

and Richard Brennan

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199661756.003.0245
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date: 11 November 2019

The field of humanitarian assistance advanced spectacularly over the last half of the twentieth century. Prolonged high-mortality crises common in the cold war era have become rare, corresponding with an increase in international spending, a healthier world, and the politicization of humanitarian assistance. This has created a completely new environment for relief workers in the twenty-first century. This new environment requires an emphasis on chronic diseases, urban settings, and people displaced within their own country. The relative importance of natural disasters has also resulted in a new set of skills deemed essential for humanitarian relief. The concepts of disaster preparedness, risk management, and disaster recovery have become central to the humanitarian endeavour and often these responsibilities fall on the shoulders of host governments. This chapter reviews the new environment in which humanitarian relief exists, the dominant emerging themes, and some of the promising technical advances.

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