Coordination of international humanitarian assistance in tsunami-affected countries - The 2004 Tsunami: cvil military aspects of the international response

The use of military assets in aid delivery has been the subject of controversy within the humanitarian community for many years. Most will be familiar with the reasons: politicisation of aid; diversion of donor funding from humanitarian organisations; cost; appropriateness; and blurring of identities resulting in heightened insecurity and difficulties in negotiating access to vulnerable populations. Many organisations and individuals have strong views on their willingness to engage with military forces, especially in conflict environments when even UN troops may be perceived as party to the conflict. In natural emergencies however, when the emphasis is on immediate life saving activities and relief of suffering, there is a greater acceptance, albeit with caveats, to work alongside military personnel.