From time to time catastrophes remind us of the dangers lurking along the uncertain paths of historical development. Such was the case with the banking crisis which made the destructive potential of neoliberalism clear for all to see. This is also the case with the Haitian earthquake which left 250,000 dead and 1.5 million homeless. At this point we should not be talking about global responsibilities in the abstract, we should be naming the responsible parties. Catastrophes – even those unleashed by natural causes – always have a “man-made” component. Danger does not reside in the floods per se, nor in the earthquakes or typhoons alone; rather danger emerges from the interaction of these natural phenomena with each person’s respective vulnerability.
This led paper written by Jean-Marc Biquet (Médecin sans Frontières, MSF), is followed by reactions and analysis from Andrea Binder (Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin). Despite repeated requests to – and commitments from – the UN (UNOCHA in particular) to provide a response, we did unfortunately not get any written reaction to MSF’s article.