In this study we use a cross–sectional survey to evaluate the nutritional response to the 1998 Bangladesh Flood Disaster by 15 relief agencies using standards developed by the Sphere Project. The Sphere Project is a recent attempt by agencies around the world to establish universal minimum standards for the purpose of ensuring quality and accountability in disaster response. The main outcomes measured were resources allocated to disaster relief, types of relief activities and percentage of agencies meeting selected Sphere food aid and nutrition indicators. Although the process of nutritional response was measured, specific nutritional and health outcomes were not assessed. This review found that self–reported disaster and nutritional resources varied widely between implementing agencies, ranging from US$58,947 to $15,908,712. The percentage of resources these agencies allocated to food aid and nutritional response also varied, ranging from approximately 6 to 99 per cent of total resources. Agencies met between 8 and 83 per cent of the specific Sphere indicators which were assessed. Areas in which performance was poor included preliminary nutritional analysis; beneficiary participation and feedback; disaster preparedness during non–emergency times; monitoring of local markets and impact assessment. Agencies were generally successful in areas of core humanitarian response, such as targeting the vulnerable (83 per cent) and monitoring and evaluating the process of disaster response (75 per cent). The results here identify both strengths and gaps in the quality of humanitarian response in developing nations such as Bangladesh. However, they also raise the question of implementing a rights–based approach to disaster response in nations without a commitment to meeting positive human rights in non–disaster times.
Disasters – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 2002
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