International governments and private donors responded to the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami by giving an unprecedented amount of humanitarian aid. NGOs collected $5.7b, and national governments collected over $7.3 billion.
But it was too much for Medicines Sans Frontiers. A week after the tsunami, they stopped taking donations. Rony Brauman explains in his polemical 2006 article “Global Media and the Myths of Humanitarian Relief: The Case of the 2004 tsunami,” that communities don’t always need a massive influx of humanitarian aid. Brauman studies at Sciences Po, and he was the president of MSF from 1982 to 1994. He currently serves as their director of researcher.
According to Brauman, natural disasters don’t injure as many people as we think. Moreover, the media always worries about epidemics. But they almost never happen. In this bonus interview for our 55th episode, we discuss the myths of disaster reporting, and what the international press too often misses: local resiliency.
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