Human-made and natural calamities devastate communities and countries alike. During the crisis, the governments, especially of poorer countries are short of manpower and funding and cannot single-handedly deal with the situation. That is when international organizations become a blessing.
It not only does immediate rescue and relief efforts but also provide a string of medical services, even extending the services to long-term rehabilitation and renewal. Currently, International organizations across the world are supporting and caring the humanity like never before.
The destructive armed conflict led by the Saudi-led coalition on one side and Houthi-Saleh led forces on the other had crippled the Yemenis economy leading to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. It had pushed millions of citizens to vicious poverty and infectious diseases. The problems are further compounded by the restrictions on imports by the Saudi-led coalition, making the fuel, goods, and services scarce. This had a direct impact on hospitals and mobile medical services, impeding the already moribund health sector.
Houthi-Saleh forces had put severe restrictions on the aid workers, even kidnapping and brutally killing them while they were supporting the humanitarian operations.
Braving the challenges in crisis-hit Yemen, volunteers from Relief International (RI)[i]supported pregnant women [ii]to have safe delivery by convincing them to access the healthcare facilities built in their rural communities. Without this swift guidance, things would have been different.
Hanan, a ‘Relief International Organization’s midwife says, “We’ve managed to save the lives of a lot of people affected by conflict in these areas.”
Another effort by RI was an audacious attempt to support the flood victims in Somalia[iii]. Rains wreaked havoc and two rivers breached the banks displacing 2, 28,000 people. They ran away with whatever they could salvage from their flooded homes on their backs and donkey carts. Flood waters had seeped into every conceivable space, be it an airport or hospitals or roads, making it impossible for the rescue teams to mobilize let alone support service for the flood victims.
The wells in the vicinity were filled with dirty water leaving the only source of potable water contaminated. The possibility that contaminated water can lead to the onslaught of diseases had pushed the international organizations to expand the line of services offered to include the door-to-door awareness campaigns to prevent communicable diseases.
The World Health Organization [iv](WHO) is providing life-saving health care services for war-ravaged Syria. WHO is supporting the only functioning blood bank apart from supplying medicines and surgical kits.
“With a large number of public health facilities in southern Syria damaged or destroyed, it is more important than ever that WHO and partners are able to step in and provide vital healthcare services to the Syrian people,” said[v] Elizabeth Hoff, the WHO Representative in Syria. “WHO stands ready to support the provision of healthcare and the revitalization of public health care facilities by all means in its power.”
The United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS)[vi], which comes under the World Food Program (WFP) had been instrumental in carrying humanitarian workers and crucial supplies to the conflict zone areas of Northeast Nigeria, otherwise inaccessible terrain. This was the first of its kind daredevil attempt to aid people in the said conflict zone.
Bruce Walker head of the UNHAS operation in Nigeria, explains[vii] his ordeal,
“I had to start from the beginning — explaining what humanitarian organizations do and why we were there. Then it was a case of working out where responsibility began and ended between the civilian and the military authorities who run the airport and getting to know key individuals who could make things happen.”
International organizations are also using avant-garde technologies to aid humanitarian efforts.
The Cox Bazaar in Bangladesh is home to millions of Rohingya refugees. The constant influx of refugees has often hindered the humanitarian relief aid. It was at this juncture that WFP introduced cutting-edge technologies[viii] for massive crisis management. The technology includes using drone and satellite images which are compatible with Artificial Intelligence to provide a flawless plan leading to long-term solutions.
A different technology, the ‘smart card’ is facilitating the refugees in Gambella camp in western Ethiopia. The ‘smart card’ equips refugees to buy vegetables and other provisions, without coughing up money. Without this plastic card, they would have died of malnutrition. This is often a revolutionary kind of innovation in one of the poorest areas in Ethiopia, introduced by Dan church aid[ix], an international organization.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [x](UNHCR) has an excellent video in its website, which promotes refugees as a potential human resource for the countries.
When calamities stun the governments, leaving little hope to the communities, international organizations work day and night to resuscitate the lost hopes and dreams of the distressed citizens.