Disaster philanthropy needs a feminist and participatory approach

A record number of wildfires are burning in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest

Wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest have hit a record number this year, with 72,843 fires detected so far by Brazil’s space research centre (INPE), as concerns grow over right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policy.

The surge marks an 83 per cent increase over the same period of 2018, the agency said on Tuesday, and is the highest since records began in 2013.

Since Thursday, INPE said satellite images spotted 9,507 new forest fires in the country, mostly in the Amazon basin, home to the world’s largest tropical forest seen as vital to countering global warming.

Images show the northernmost state of Roraima covered in dark smoke. Amazonas declared an emergency in the south of the state and in its capital Manaus on Aug. 9. Acre, on the border with Peru, has been on environmental alert since Friday due to the fires…


Disaster philanthropy needs a feminist and participatory approach

Women of Juchitán in the Mexican state of Oaxaca working to rebuild their community after the 2017 Puebla earthquake. Screengrab from Fondo Semillas

It’s been over a year and a half since a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck central and southern Mexico, killing hundreds, contorting buildings, and splitting roads open. In the aftermath, the international community mobilized 440 tons of humanitarian aid and the Mexican government allocated billions of pesos to recovery. Yet today, many of the communities look the same as they did the day after the earthquake. 

Our current approach to disaster response isn’t working.

Aid is too focused on the immediate aftermath of emergencies. The vast majority of humanitarian aid is top-down and rarely put in the hands of impacted communities themselves — 94% of relief aid flows to international…


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