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Relief Rules

  • By: Martin Nthakomwa
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

During the chaos of a disaster, it sometimes seems both irrational and impractical for relief agencies and practitioners to suggest that those working in relief need to be guided by rules and guidelines. Yet it is precisely this chaotic environment that strengthens the case for regulations, guidelines, and conventions. Without guiding codes of conduct, disaster relief operations would lack coordination; infringe on human rights; deny victims participation and decision making on issues that affect them; and worsen the disaster situation, resulting in unnecessary loss of life.

The discussion about rules for relief is effectively a reference to codes of conduct; quality frameworks; regulations; and the external and internal guidelines of regional, national, and local governments and agencies and their service-delivery compliance within international humanitarian law.

International Rules

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