Ebola – A Humanitarian Crisis or a Crisis of Humanitarian Governance?

Photo: Sylvain Cherkaoui / MSF

​​With more than 8,000 confirmed, suspected and probable cases of Ebola and nearly 4,000 deaths, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the impact of this Ebola outbreak far surpasses all previous outbreaks registered since the disease was identified in 1976. But what type of crisis is this? Is this just another humanitarian crisis in a year unusually crowded with emergencies, or is it also a serious crisis of humanitarian governance?​

In her recent blog, NCHS’s Director Kristin B. Sandvik discusses aspects of the Ebola-crisis and the humanitarian response to the epidemic. The entry is inspired by discussions at the PRIO and NCHS breakfast seminar Ebola: A Humanitarian Crisis or a Crisis of Humanitarian Governance, held in Oslo on 7 October 2014.

Pointing out that media often portrays Ebola as a “civilisational crisis”, Sandvik argues that “Ebola is a humanitarian crisis. It is occurring in post-conflict countries with corrupt and ineffective governments, where inadequate basic health care, food insecurity and poverty made life difficult long before Ebola came along.”

Read Sandvik’s blog at the Humanitarian Space.