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IRIN’s Top Picks: Aid worker anxiety, conflict pollution and DRR

Children at Atme camp for displaced people in northern Syria, near the border with Turkey. Delivery of aid in rebel-held northern Syria is complicated by many factors, and often lacking
Children at Atme camp for displaced people in northern Syria, near the border with Turkey. (Jodi Hilton/IRIN)

Welcome to IRIN's reading list. Every week our global network of specialist correspondents share some of their top picks of recent must-read research, interviews, reports, blogs and in-depth articles to help you keep on top of global crises. We also highlight key upcoming conferences, book releases and policy debates.

Five to read:

A Crisis of Anxiety Among Aid Workers

Aid workers are employed to help people in crisis situations, but who helps the aid worker deal with their own traumatic experiences? In this New York Times blog, former United Nations and NGO worker Rosalie Hughes questions what she sees as the hypocrisy of humanitarian organisations who “exist to alleviate suffering and maintain and protect human dignity” but at the same time do so little to apply the same principles to their own staff.

Ebola: A Turning Point?

Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring pens an important reminder that the end of Ebola cases does not mean the end of the crisis. Referring to his recent visit to Sierra Leone and Liberia, he points to the lasting economic legacy of the outbreak, which includes joblessness, failed crops and restricted trade flows. But, he says: “If we get it right, Ebola could mark the turning point for all those who live in the countries that have suffered so much.”

Iraq’s continuing struggle with conflict pollution

Iraq is still recovering from the environmental impact of two Gulf wars, but now it faces new problems caused by the current conflict against the group calling itself Islamic State (IS), writes Wim Zwijnenburg, of PAX, a Dutch peace organisation. He sounds a warning about the risk of new contamination as a result of fighting between government forces and IS militants, including attacks on oil fields and refineries. The environmental legacy of the conflict should not to be left as an afterthought, he says.

Aid for Peace. Does Money Buy Hearts and Minds?

Does sending aid into conflict-affected regions worsen violence? That has long been a question for governments and humanitarian organisations and it is posed once again in this Foreign Affairs article, which looks at aid responses in different conflicts around the word. Each context is unique but the general conclusion was “small, targeted projects will produce better outcomes than carpeting conflict regions with cash”.

Alienation and Violence: Impact of Syria Crisis Report 2014

Published in the week that the Syrian conflict entered its fifth year, this report produced by the Syrian Centre for Policy Research (SCPR) with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) makes grim reading.  It chronicles the collapse of the education, health and social welfare systems and highlights the desperate plight of Syria’s 560,000 Palestinian refugees.

Coming up:

3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR)

March 14-18, Sendai, Japan

Thousands of participants are expected to attend the WCDRR in Japan this week. The conference aims – among other things – to complete an assessment and review of the Hyogo Framework for Action and to adopt a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction. The website is a treasure chest for anyone interested in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

From IRIN:

What does the Boko Haram/IS alliance mean?

What does Nigerian Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram’s declared allegiance to the group calling itself Islamic State (IS), mean in practice? Our editor at large Obinna Anyadike takes a closer look at the implications of the relationship.


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