Quake, Wave, War


The past 20 years has seen conflicts and natural disasters devastate lives and landscapes across the world. The impact of these events is streamed into every home – but can the fly in/fly out reporter’s perspective capture what the
recovery from these disasters really entails?

This memoire does.



About the Book

1. Al Geneina, West Darfur, Sudan – 2004.
The author’s deployment began 18 months after two rebel groups the SLM and the JEM intensified hostilities against the government of Sudan. The government responded to the rebel attacks with a bombing campaign combined with ground assaults from the Janjaweed.
2. Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia – 2005.
On 26 December 2004 the 9.1 magnitude earthquake triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts bordering the Indian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people in 14 countries. The author flew to Banda Aceh, the most devastated town, on 8th January 2005 for a 3 month deployment.
3. Colombo, Sri Lanka – 2005.
The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami killed 30,000 in Sri Lanka and six months after the devastation aid workers were moving into the second stage of the recovery process with emphasis on staff training and operational partnership appraisals.
4. El Fasher, North Darfur, Sudan – 2005.
The conflict in Darfur resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and forced millions into IDP camps. Meeting the needs of so many was further complicated when several aid workers were attacked necessitating the closure of the aid offices in West Darfur.
5. Abuja, Nigeria – 2005.
100 million Nigerians were living on less than a dollar a day and depending on subsistence agriculture, small scale industries and trading. Nigeria derived 95% of its earnings from oil, but due to corrupt practices the oil wealth did not benefit the poor. The author’s role included the reduction of corrupt practices.
6. Islamabad, Pakistan – 2006.
In October 2005 the Kashmir region in Pakistan suffered an earthquake of magnitude 7.6 killing 100,000 people, seriously injuring 140,000 and displacing 3.5 million. Unfortunately international help was not requested until two months later.
7. Abeche, Chad – 2006.
By December 2003 a major humanitarian crisis arose due in eastern Chad due to the influx of refugees fleeing the conflict in Darfur. Before the crisis, 80,000 people lived in the affected areas, the arrival of 200,000 refugees placed severe strain on all the local resources. By 2006, the emergency aid programme was due to close when the conflict escalated.
8. Harare, Zimbabwe – 2007.
In May 2005, the government of Zimbabwe began ‘Operation Clean-up’ which, according to the United Nations, deprived 700,000 individuals throughout the country of their homes and livelihoods. International aid agencies attempted to provide the basic needs of the newly poor, however their work was severely compromised by the resulting hyper-inflation caused by this operation and the governments farm confiscation programme.
9. Ibera, Mozambique – 2007
In December 2006 heavy rains on Southern Africa caused the Cahora Bassa Dam of the Zambezi River to overflow and flood downstream. This was compounded in February 2007 when a category 4 cyclone, Favio, made landfall on the central Mozambique province of Inhambane. Mozambique called for immediate international help.
1O. Kitgum, Uganda – 2009.
Following the civil war in northern Uganda, Oxfam assisted 2 million IDPs in eight camps. During the latter part of 2008, as the security situation improved, the IDPs began to move back to their villages or to resettlement sites returning periodically or at night to the security of the camps. International aid was then required to assist the local population to begin to rebuild their lives.


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