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A humanitarian crisis (or humanitarian disaster) is defined as a singular event or a series of events that are threatening in terms of health, safety or well being of a community or large group of people.
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- As with all so-called humanitarian crises, it is essential to remember that the social conditions found across most of the countries of the South are the direct product of how these states are inserted into the hierarchies of the world market. Historically, this included a long encounter with Western colonialism, which has continued, into contemporary times, with the subordination of poorer countries to the interests of the world’s wealthiest states and largest transnational corporations. Since the mid-1980s, repeated bouts of structural adjustment — often accompanied by Western military action, debilitating sanctions regimes, or support for authoritarian rulers — have systematically destroyed the social and economic capacities of poorer states, leaving them ill-equipped to deal with major crises such as COVID-19.
- Adam Hanieh, This is a Global Pandemic – Let’s Treat it as Such, 27 March 2020, Verso Books
- Today's real borders are not between nations, but between powerful and powerless, free and fettered, privileged and humiliated. Today, no walls can separate humanitarian or human rights crises in one part of the world from national security crises in another.
- Kofi Annan, Nobel lecture, Oslo, Norway, (10 December 2001)