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Good Samaritans?

26 Oct 2016

The increasing emergence of ‘non-traditional actors’ in the humanitarian field – some of whom bring specialised skills and innovative technology, others who are ill-prepared – heralds a new chapter in disaster relief.

The increasing importance of private businesses, charities and faith-based organisations in responding to humanitarian and environmental crises is impacting the entire humanitarian system. As such, there are necessary institutional considerations to ensure an ethical and efficient response to disaster relief and accountability to the survivors of humanitarian and natural disasters.

The term “non-traditional actor” in a post-disaster context is often associated with private aid, businesses, diaspora networks and faith-based organisations. But this is no longer appropriate. Indeed, despite the lack of media attention, these players nevertheless constitute an integral part of the responses to humanitarian and natural disasters. There is a widening spectrum of organisations and groups, each requiring their own relevant and clear code of conduct and accountability.


Caroline Brassard is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), National University of Singapore. This article was first published on The Mark News on 24th October 2016.

Caroline Brassard

Caroline Brassard

Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), National University of Singapore