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Opinion Pieces Address Humanitarian Response In Philippines

The following is a summary of two opinion pieces in the Washington Post addressing the post-typhoon humanitarian response in the Philippines.

  • Lauren Prather: In the newspaper’s “The Monkey Cage” blog, Prather, a PhD candidate in Stanford University’s Department of Political Science, examines whether the U.S. should provide aid in the form of money or food. “The answer could depend on agricultural interests in the United States: People from food-producing states may prefer giving food to giving cash,” she writes, noting proposed changes to the U.S. Food for Peace program. She discusses the results of a survey she administered to a representative sample of 1,000 Americans in July. “First, it appears that when it comes to domestic anti-poverty policies in the United States, Americans have a strong preference for food aid over cash aid,” she writes, adding, “Second, this preference for giving in-kind aid instead of cash aid does not translate to the foreign context. Finally, my study suggests that segments of the population with a stake in the way food aid is distributed may have preferences that differ from those of the general public” (11/18).
  • Vijaya Ramachandran and Owen Barder: “Relief and reconstruction efforts in the Philippines have much to learn from previous mega-disasters, including, most recently, the massive earthquake in Haiti in 2010,” Ramachandran, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), and Barder, a senior fellow and the director of the CGD in Europe, write. They discuss challenges faced in the humanitarian response in Haiti, and state, “The international community can and must do better in the Philippines, and there is reason to be hopeful.” They write, “To make that aid effective, and to ensure that it reaches the people who need it, donors, starting with the United States, should commit to full and rapid transparency,” adding, “The international community must embrace the technology available to strengthen disaster preparedness, resilience and aid” (11/15).