Monday, December 15, 2014

Examples of Disasters Past

In preparation for our first day of the face-to-face workshop, we were instructed to put together a short presentation detailing the timeline of a historical disaster of our choice.  There were several disasters that I found particularly interesting so I have decided to present two of them: the Bosnian war and the 2011 famine in Somalia.

The Bosnian War:

I knew very little about the events in Bosnia growing up because I was so young when they took place.  I remember hearing the name Sarajevo and brief references to the fact that it had become a very dangerous place at one point, but I never knew the details of what had happened there.  As an adult I have become increasingly interested in the history of the region, especially after having met people from Croatia and Slovenia.  I therefore decided that it was about time that I learn more about the Bosnian war and this activity provided the perfect opportunity to explore the man-made disaster.  What I did not expect, was how difficult it would be to find concrete information about the war as several of the resources that I found had conflicting dates listed for specific events.  This presentation contains what I considered to be the most consistent information, or best approximation of what occurred based on the various accounts that I have read.

References for "The Bosnian War":

1.  AFP 2013, Timeline: Conflict in Bosnia-Hercegovina, viewed 14 December 2014, <>.

2.  Ball, P, Tabeau, E & Verwimp, P 2007, The Bosnian Book of Dead: Assessment of the Database (Full Report), Housholds in Conflict Network, The Institute of Developmental Studies, University of Sussex, England, viewed 15 December 2014, <>.

3.  BBC 2012, Bosnia-Hercegovina timeline, viewed 14 December 2014, <>.

4.  U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian 2013, Milestones: 1989-1992, The Breakup of Yugoslavia, 1990-1992, viewed 14 December 2014, <>

The 2011 Famine in Somalia:

One of the reasons that I found the 2011 famine in Somalia so interesting was that I had not heard much about it.  I had heard a great deal about previous famines in that region, particularly in Ethiopia, but was completely unaware of this particular disaster.  What I found most disconcerting was the fact that I was living in Uganda at the exact time that the famine took place.  From what I remember about the news coverage that we were receiving at the time, the focus was mostly on the political uprisings in Egypt, Libya and the Ivory Coast as well as the separation of Sudan and the upcoming election in Uganda itself (the latter of which ultimately took place without issue).  Another issue could have been the general desensitisation to reports of problems in Somalia because it has been an unstable country for so long.  In other words, there may have been reports of the famine while we were there that we failed to take notice of due to the fact that the country had been in conflict for so long.

References for "The 2011 Famine in Somalia":

1.  BBC 2011, Somali famine spreads to three more areas says UN, viewed 13 December 2014, <>.

2.  Lautze, S, Bell, W, Alinovi, L & Russo, L 2012, ‘Early warning, late response (again): The 2011 famine in Somalia’, Global Food Security, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 43-49.

3.  Salama, P, Moloney, G, Bilukha, OO, Talley, L, Maxwell, D, Hailey, P, Hillbruner, C, Masese-Mwirigi, L, Odundo, E & Golden, MH 2012, ‘Famine in Somalia: Evidence for a declaration’, Global Food Security, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 13-19.

4.  Seal, A & Bailey, R 2013, ‘The 2011 Famine in Somalia: lessons learnt from a failed response?’, Conflict and Health, vol. 7, no. 22, pp. 1-5.

5.  Slim, H 2012, IASC Real-Time Evaluation of the Humanitarian Response to the Horn of Africa Drought Crisis in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya,  Synthesis Report, Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC).


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