Sustaining disaster aid in the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic

Jones, Natalia ORCID:, Few, Roger, Lake, Iain ORCID: and Wooster, Kelly (2023) Sustaining disaster aid in the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Emergency Management, 21 (7). pp. 85-96.

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The COVID-19 pandemic had a global reach and impact, introducing stay at home orders, social distancing, facemask wearing, and closing national and international borders. Yet, the need for international disaster aid as a result of previous disasters and ongoing crises remained present. Interviews with staff from United Kingdom aid agencies and their partner organizations examined how development and humanitarian activities changed during the first six months of the pandemic. Seven key themes were highlighted. The need to recognize individual country contexts and experiences when dealing with a pandemic was emphasized, together with appropriate strategic decisions around guidance and supporting staff and the value of learning from previous experiences. Restrictions limited agencies' ability to monitor programs and ensure accountability effectively, but relationships between partners adjusted, with a move to a greater reliance on local partners and increased empowerment in these groups. Trust was vital to allow for the continuation of programs and services during the first months of the pandemic. Most programs continued but with significant adaptations. An enhanced use of communication technology was a key adaptation, though caveats remained around access. Concern around safeguarding and stigmatization of vulnerable groups was reported as an increasing issue in some contexts. The impact of COVID-19 restrictions on ongoing disaster aid was rapid and extensive, forcing aid agencies at different scales to work swiftly to try to ensure as little disruption as possible, and generating important lessons for both the ongoing and future crises.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ACKNOWLEGMENTS: This study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response, a partnership among Public Health England, King’s College London, and the University of East Anglia. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR, Public Health England, or the Department of Health and Social Care
Uncontrolled Keywords: covid-19,aid agencies,communication technology,disaster aid,low- and middle-income countries,partner relationships,program adaptation,strategy,emergency medicine,safety, risk, reliability and quality,safety research ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2711
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
UEA Research Groups: University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Area Studies
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Health and Disease
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Global Environmental Justice
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Climate Change
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Water Security Research Centre
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Environmental Social Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2023 10:30
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2023 08:30
DOI: 10.5055/jem.0701


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