The appalling devastation in the wake of Hurricane Irma poses stern tests for the emergency aid and development sector. Will emergency organisations, many of whom say they aid recovery and rebuilding after natural disasters, be able to meet the likely demand? Too many people’s lives and livelihoods have been torn apart by this immense hurricane. The need for a swift recovery once Irma has passed is, of course, paramount.
Challenges and questions are already emerging. Owing to the proximity of the Caribbean to the US, as well as Florida now bearing the brunt of the hurricane, we can anticipate forensic media examination of how well emergency and recovery organisations perform. It’s always a challenge for such organisations to listen to what communities say, to deliver to scale, speedily, for rebuilding/reconstruction and to fend off the predictable complaints that too little help arrived and it arrived too late. Emergency and recovery/rebuilding organisations, usually in the development sector although never underestimate the importance of the military to make things happen, can expect stories in weeks and months to come when the media ‘truth-check’ what was promised and what assistance has actually been delivered. Now, we pray for the safety and well-being of everyone affected by this massive hurricane. More tough challenges posed by Hurricane Irma await.