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Aid Corporations as Self-Serving Agencies?

Ian Birrell | The Guardian   in  ·
March 18, 2015

The president of South Sudan warns that his nation faces terrible famine, with more than a million people fleeing their homes since fighting erupted at the end of last year. And many more families face critical food shortages, according to British aid groups who say they have less than half the money they need to prevent a catastrophe.

Their desperate pleas come as the number of global refugees exceeds 50 million for the first time since the second world war. From Afghanistan to Ukraine, from Syria to Somalia, conflict and civil war are crippling countries and devastating lives.

This makes an incendiary new report by Médecins Sans Frontières well timed. The paper – provocatively titled Where is Everyone? – highlights how other big aid groups are withdrawing from emergency work, especially in dangerous conflict zones, in favour of lucrative work on modish concepts such as conflict resolution, capacity building and governance. Two years ago I heard this from the head of their Haiti mission in Port-au-Prince, despairing as he watched the aid caravan move on despite a cholera outbreak and thousands still homeless after the devastating earthquake.

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