Showing posts from February, 2008

Starvation Was The Policy


383 pp. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. $22.95.
Reviewed by Colin Campbell

ANYONE who has followed the huge international aid operations that have been mounted in recent years in Ethiopia, Cambodia and other devastated countries must have noticed that these efforts keep running into technical and political obstacles, and that they raise other issues as well. Shipments of food and medicine always seem to arrive in such places too late. There aren't enough planes or trucks to deliver the stuff. Dozens of different aid agencies leap into the act, and it's only a matter of time before they start disagreeing passionately over just what the problem is and how to deal with it.

Fortunately, these emergencies have generated a few important case studies, and one can read about the all-too-human world of several big emergency aid operations in appalling detail. Now ''The Brutality of Nations'' by Dan Jacobs has appeared, dealing with the e…

Humanatarian Issues In The Biafra Conflict

Nathaniel H. Goetz
Pepperdine University

School of Public Policy
California USA


April 2001

These working papers provide a means for UNHCR staff, consultants, interns and associates to publish the preliminary results of their research on refugee-related issues. The papers do not represent the official views of UNHCR. They are also available online at

ISSN 1020-7473

Introduction [1]
Over three decades have passed since the end of the Nigerian Civil War (1967 – 1970). During almost thirty months of fighting between the Federal Government and Biafran secessionists, the conflict received more attention from the west than any other previous African ‘emergency.’ From the standpoint of the international humanitarian sector, Biafra served as one of the first conflicts where issues of more contemporary complex emergencies began to develop. Biafra taught the international community how to better provide and coordinate aid and assistance to those affected by a complex emergenc…