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Humanitarian Crises

Humanitarian Crises

The Medical and Public Health Response

Edited by Jennifer Leaning, Susan M. Briggs, and Lincoln C. Chen

ISBN 9780674155152

Publication date: 07/15/1999

Since the late 1980s the international relief community has seen its resources and personnel stressed beyond capacity by humanitarian crises--large-scale, man-made catastrophes such as the conflicts in Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Chechnya, Zaire, and elsewhere. Waged within collapsing states, political and ethnic strife targets civilians, causes mass population dislocation and widespread human rights abuses, and impedes the efforts of relief organizations to respond effectively. Covering topics ranging from emergency public health measures to the psychological trauma of relief workers, this volume presents both a seasoned assessment of current practice and proposals for improving operational efforts in the future. The discussion also raises important questions relating to the definition and direction of the overall humanitarian mission.


  • The editors have assembled the thoughts and experiences of many of the leaders in the field of humanitarian relief. [Humanitarian Crises] reflects the collective wisdom garnered from the experiences of nongovernmental organizations and the United Nations in responding to crises in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the former Yugoslavia. It is rich in thoughtful discussion of the complexity of such crises and the limitations as well as the successes of humanitarian-relief programs.

    —Douglas Lyon, New England Journal of Medicine


  • Jennifer Leaning is Director of the Harvard FXB Center and FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University.
  • Susan M. Briggs, M.D., is Attending Surgeon in General and Trauma Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School.
  • Lincoln C. Chen is President of the China Medical Board.

Book Details

  • 400 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press