Better Tools for Humanitarian Missions

Submitted for your approval, a nightmarish scenario worthy of Rod Serling. Imagine, first, an unsettled international landscape, disturbed by a series of intense humanitarian emergencies in such economically disadvantaged regions as Eastern Europe, South Asia, and Central Africa. According to a recent estimate by the U.S. National Intelligence Council, the number and severity of humanitarian emergencies will probably remain high and may worsen in the foreseeable future. The council found that in 1999 there were twenty-three countries with “ongoing” humanitarian emergencies and another nine in which humanitarian emergencies were likely to develop. A humanitarian emergency is defined as a situation in which at least 300,000 civilians will starve or die without international assistance.

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