In This Review

International Disaster Relief: Toward a Responsive System
International Disaster Relief: Toward a Responsive System
By Stephen J. Green
McGraw-Hill (for the Council on Foreign Relations/1980s Project), 1977, 101 pp

The existing international system for responding to natural disasters is far from adequate. During the decade ending in 1975, disasters claimed 3.6 million lives and affected 439 million people. In this timely book, the author recognizes that disaster relief involves politics as well as logistics; from his first-hand experience with the 1974 Ethiopian famine, he knows that politics in the afflicted country can prevent even the acknowledgement of a disaster, not to mention effective relief. That experience may also have inspired one of the principal recommendations, a new Geneva Convention fashioned after that for the 1949 Rules of War that would affirm "the common responsibility of all people and governments to provide protection and relief to the victims of natural disasters."