The Challenges of Famine Relief: Emergency Operations in the Sudan

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For nearly a decade, international efforts to combat famine and food shortages around the globe have concentrated on the critical situations in sub-Saharan Africa. In the Sudan, the largest country in Africa, prolonged drought, complicated by civil strife and debilitating economic problems, has caused widespread human suffering. The Sudan illustrates the proverbial worst-case scenario in which urgent food needs have been denied, food has been used as a weapon, and outside assistance has been obstructed. The Challenges of Famine Relief focuses on the two famine emergencies in the Sudan in the 1980s - the great African drought-related famine of 1984-86 and the conflict-related famine that afflicted the southern Sudan in 1988-91. Francis Deng and Larry Minear analyze the historical and political setting and the response by Sudan authorities and the international community. The book outlines four problem areas exemplified in the response to each crisis: the external nature of famine relief, the relationship between relief activities and endemic problems, the coordination of such activities, and the ambivalence of the results. The authors identify the many difficulties inherent in providing emergency relief to populations caught in circumstances of life-threatening famine. They show how such famine emergencies reflect the most extreme breakdown of social order and present the most compelling imperatives for international action. Deng and Minear also discuss how the international community, alerted by the media and mobilized by the Ethiopian famine, moved in to fill the moral void left by the government and how outside organizations worked together to pressure Sudan's political authorities to be more responsive to these tragedies. Looking ahead, the authors highlight the implications for future involvement in humanitarian initiatives in a new world order. As recent developments in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union demonstrate, such humanitarian challenges of
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815717911
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 8/10/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 165
  • Lexile: 1460L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.19 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Famine: Causes and Responses 10
The Geographic Context 12
The Demographic Context 13
The Political Context 16
Poverty and Underdevelopment 21
Official Attitudes 24
Emerging Global Perspectives 29
The Challenges 32
2 Drought-Induced Famine, 1983-86 38
Genesis of the Emergency 38
Intervening from Outside 45
Framing the Context 50
Coordinating Activities 54
Evaluating the Results 66
3 Conflict-Related Famine, 1987-91 83
Overview of Operation Lifeline Sudan 83
Intervening from Outside 89
Framing the Context 97
Coordinating Activities 104
Evaluating the Results 111
4 A Look to the Future 120
The Generic Problems in Perspective 120
New Horizons on Humanitarian Imperatives 124
Needed Institutional Reforms 125
Relief and the Prospects for Peace 130
Concluding Reflections 134
App. A: Persons Consulted for Office of Emergency Operations in Africa Evaluation 137
App. B: Persons Consulted for Operation Lifeline Sudan Study 139
App. C: Contributing Agencies 145
Notes 147
Selected Bibliography 153
Index 157
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