From NCR: 2013 an ‘Under-the-Radar’ Period for Humanitarian Disasters, Aid

December 30, 2013 by

A Typhoon Haiyan survivor receives a tarp at a Catholic Relief Services distribution in the town of Tolosa in the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, also called Yolanda, devastated central Philippines in November 2013. Photo by Jennifer Hardy/CRS

A Typhoon Haiyan survivor receives a tarp at a Catholic Relief Services distribution in the town of Tolosa in the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, also called Yolanda, devastated central Philippines in November 2013. Photo by Jennifer Hardy/CRS

The National Catholic Reporter writes that even though there were large humanitarian disasters in 2013, they did not get sustained attention.  The article quotes Catholic Relief Services’ Chief Operating Officer Sean Callahan. Excerpts from the National Catholic Reporter:

But for the tragedy in the Philippines, 2013 is ending as a quiet year for humanitarian events, right?

Not necessarily.

True, in some ways, 2013 represented “more of an ‘under-the-radar’ period,” said Catholic Relief Services’ Sean Callahan, noting that not even the on-the-ground horrors of the war in Syria seemed to get the sustained attention of many in the world, including the American public.

Certainly, the effects of Typhoon Haiyan on the Philippines made that event the “major purely humanitarian disaster of 2013,” Callahan said, with the Syria emergency being the major “man-made” humanitarian disaster.

“The need in both cases is extreme, but in the case of Syria, there are security and political concerns where in the Philippines, the power of that natural disaster overwhelmed human infrastructure — roads, homes and airports,” said Callahan, CRS’s chief operating officer….

Callahan said other under-the-radar trends included a swiftly changing Africa, where some countries are experiencing robust economic growth, especially Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Such changes could upend traditional aid relationships between Africa and northern countries, Callahan said, though it is also true that a number of African states, including South Sudan and the Central African Republic, remain mired in poverty.

Callahan also cited increased urbanization throughout the world, where problems like hunger and malnutrition are becoming more acute and noticeable in growing urban areas.

Read the full article on the National Catholic Reporter.

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