The Ecology of Aid: Lots of Organizations Play Complicated Roles

While working on my recent story about the village of Takara in Vanuatu, I discovered many organizations had been to visit Takara, but it wasn’t always clear why. Following disasters aid groups often overlap, fill gaps and sometimes work invisibly in communities. Even though the organizations start out with the same goal — “to help” — the way they achieve that goal can vary widely.

Photos of Refugees through History

Many of the refugees featured in these photos would now be called “internally displaced people.” For example, the flood “refugees” of the Great Depression in the United States. We might also call some of them “homeless” or even, “enemy combatants.