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Study of the humanitarian response to hurricane Mitch
1999 - 2001

In order to analyse humanitarian operations following hurricane Mitch in Central America, Groupe URD ran a research and evaluation project to look into the experiences of different NGOs.

A lot of energy and resources were mobilised by the international community following the devastation left by Hurricane Mitch. But very quickly, questions were raised about the appropriateness of certain operations and how to follow up the emergency relief operations.

A broad research and evaluation project was therefore put in place in the different countries affected by the hurricane in order to learn lessons about the aid process implemented and consider ways to improve the management of future disasters.

The four main areas of research were:

  • Links between the emergency, rehabilitation and development phases;
  • The issue of partnership;
  • From free aid to self-sufficiency;
  • State humanitarian aid / Private humanitarian aid.

When earthquakes hit El Salvador in 2001, this was an opportunity to review the lessons learned following hurricane Mitch and to underline the importance of pursuing efforts to learn at the sector level. A multi-disciplinary team travelled to El Salvador to analyse around thirty programmes by national and international NGOs.

At the same time, an evaluation of programmes three years after Mitch began in partnership with the Fons Catalan. A researcher went to Nicaragua for 6 months to study the impacts of reconstruction programmes by French NGOs and Fons Catalan.

The results of this work were presented and debated in the respective countries and in France. Detailed reports were produced and these were summarised in the book "Evaluating humanitarian action" published by Karthala.