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The following is a timeline of selected notable events in the history of humanitarian aid, international relief and development.
Humanitarian aid is material and logistic assistance to people who need help. It is usually short-term help until the long-term help by government and other institutions replaces it. Among the people in need are the homeless, refugees, and victims of natural disasters, wars and famines. Humanitarian aid is material or logistical assistance provided for humanitarian purposes, typically in response to humanitarian relief efforts including natural disasters and man-made disaster. The primary objective of humanitarian aid is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity. It may therefore be distinguished from development aid, which seeks to address the underlying socioeconomic factors which may have led to a crisis or emergency. There is a debate on linking humanitarian aid and development efforts, which was reinforced by the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. However, the approach is viewed critically by practitioners.
The Battle of Solferino on 24 June 1859 resulted in the victory of the allied French Army under Napoleon III and Sardinian Army under Victor Emmanuel II against the Austrian Army under Emperor Franz Joseph I. It was the last major battle in world history where all the armies were under the personal command of their monarchs. Perhaps 300,000 soldiers fought in the important battle, the largest since the Battle of Leipzig in 1813. There were about 130,000 Austrian troops and a combined total of 140,000 French and allied Piedmontese troops. After the battle, the Austrian Emperor refrained from further direct command of the army.
Henry Dunant, also known as Henri Dunant, was a Swiss humanitarian, businessman and social activist. He was the visionary, promoter and co-founder of the Red Cross.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland, and a three-time Nobel Prize Laureate. State parties (signatories) to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005 have given the ICRC a mandate to protect victims of international and internal armed conflicts. Such victims include war wounded, prisoners, refugees, civilians, and other non-combatants.
Médecins Sans Frontières, sometimes rendered in English as Doctors Without Borders, is an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organisation (NGO) of French origin best known for its projects in conflict zones and in countries affected by endemic diseases. In 2015, over 30,000 personnel — mostly local doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, logistical experts, water and sanitation engineers and administrators — provided medical aid in over 70 countries. Most staff are volunteers. Private donors provide about 90% of the organisation's funding, while corporate donations provide the rest, giving MSF an annual budget of approximately US$1.63 billion.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a United Nations programme with the mandate to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people, and assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.
Created in December 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a relief and human development agency which supports more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees, and their patrilineal descendants, who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 Palestine war as well as those who fled or were expelled during and following the 1967 Six Day war. Originally intended to provide jobs on public works projects and direct relief, today UNRWA provides education, health care, and social services to the population it supports. Aid is provided in five areas of operation: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; aid for Palestinian refugees outside these five areas is provided by UNHCR.
Humanitarian aid workers belonging to United Nations organisations, PVOs / NGOs or the Red Cross / Red Crescent have traditionally enjoyed both international legal protection, and de facto immunity from attack by belligerent parties. However, attacks on humanitarian workers have occasionally occurred, and became more frequent since the 1990s and 2000s. In 2012 there were 167 incidents of major violence against aid workers and in 2013 there were 474 attacks. This is attributed to a number of factors, including the increasing number of humanitarian workers deployed, the increasingly unstable environments in which they work, and the erosion of the perception of neutrality and independence. In 2012, road travel was seen to be most dangerous and kidnappings of aid workers have quadrupled in the decade with more aid workers victims of kidnapping than any other form of attack. ICRC promotes a framework for Neutral Independent Humanitarian Action (NIHA) to enable differentiated role understanding.
A refugee camp is a temporary settlement built to receive refugees and people in refugee-like situations. Refugee camps usually accommodate displaced persons who have fled their home country, but there are also camps for internally displaced people. Usually refugees seek asylum after they've escaped war in their home countries, but some camps also house environmental- and economic migrants. Camps with over a hundred thousand people are common, but as of 2012, the average-sized camp housed around 11,400. They are usually built and run by a government, the United Nations, international organizations, or NGOs. There are also unofficial refugee camps, like Idomeni in Greece or the Calais jungle in France, where refugees are largely left without support of governments or international organizations.
Dadaab is a semi-arid town in Garissa County, Kenya. It is the site of a UNHCR base hosting 211,365 registered refugees and asylum seekers in three camps as of the 13 May 2019, making it the third-largest such complex in the world. The center is run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and its operations are financed by foreign donors. In 2013, UNHCR, the governments of Kenya and Somalia signed a tripartite agreement facilitating the repatriation of Somali refugees at the complex.
Islamic Relief is an international aid agency that provides humanitarian relief and development programmes in over 30 countries, serving communities in need regardless of race, political affiliation, gender or belief.
The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award is awarded annually by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to an individual, group, or organization in recognition of outstanding service to the cause of refugees, displaced or stateless people. It was established in 1954.
The Great Lakes refugee crisis is the common name for the situation beginning with the exodus in April 1994 of over two million Rwandans to neighboring countries of the Great Lakes region of Africa in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. Many of the refugees were Hutu ethnics fleeing the predominantly Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which had gained control of the country at the end of the genocide. However, the humanitarian relief effort was vastly compromised by the presence among the refugees of many of the Interahamwe and government officials who carried out the genocide, who used the refugee camps as bases to launch attacks against the new government led by Paul Kagame. The camps in Zaire became particularly politicized and militarized. The knowledge that humanitarian aid was being diverted to further the aims of the genocidaires led many humanitarian organizations to withdraw their assistance. The conflict escalated until the start of the First Congo War in 1996, when RPF-supported rebels invaded Zaire and sought to repatriate the refugees.
Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is a private Danish humanitarian organisation, founded in 1956. It serves as an umbrella organization for 33 member organizations.
Turkish Red Crescent is the largest humanitarian organization in Turkey and is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
DunguDUUNG-goo is a town in Haut-Uele Province located at the confluence of the Dungu and Kibali Rivers where they join to form the Uele River, south of the Garamba National Park. Dungu's terrain is wooded savannah, and its climate is tropical.
Various international and local diplomatic and humanitarian efforts in the Somali Civil War have been in effect since the conflict first began in the early 1990s. The latter include diplomatic initiatives put together by the African Union, the Arab League and the European Union, as well as humanitarian efforts led by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP), the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) and the Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS).
Médecins du monde or Doctors of the World, provides emergency and long-term medical care to the world's most vulnerable people. It also advocates to end health inequities.
IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation or İHH is a conservative Turkish NGO, whose members are predominantly Turkish Muslims, active in more than 100 countries.
The International Organization for Peace, Care and Relief is a non-governmental organization based in Tripoli, Libya. Founded in 1999, the organisation has special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and has an independent legal and financial status. The president of the organization is Khaled K. El-Hamedi.
Between July 2011 and mid-2012, a severe drought affected the entire East African region. Said to be "the worst in 60 years", the drought caused a severe food crisis across Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya that threatened the livelihood of 9.5 million people. Many refugees from southern Somalia fled to neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, where crowded, unsanitary conditions together with severe malnutrition led to a large number of deaths. Other countries in East Africa, including Sudan, South Sudan and parts of Uganda, were also affected by a food crisis.
Zaatari is a refugee camp in Jordan, located 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) east of Mafraq, which has gradually evolved into a permanent settlement; it is the world’s largest camp for Syrian refugees. It was first opened on 28 July 2012 to host Syrians fleeing the violence in the ongoing Syrian Civil War that erupted in March 2011. It is connected to the road network by a short road which leads to Highway 10.
Humanitarian aid during the Syrian Civil War has been provided by various international bodies, organizations and states. The main effort is coordinated by Jonh Ging of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). In 2014, U.N. Security Council Resolution 2165 authorised humanitarian aid to be supplied via four border crossings not controlled by the Syrian government, generally to supply rebel-controlled territory.