Heba Aly writes: The number of people affected by humanitarian crises has more than doubled over the past decade. The frequency, scale, and severity of humanitarian crises are set to continue rising. Yet time and again, the traditional international humanitarian relief apparatus has been unable to respond adequately. Syria is only the latest example of this.
The aid sector is aware of deficiencies, but often frames the challenges it faces in terms that downplay its own responsibility. Needs are rising quickly, its leaders argue, and the scale of financing to respond to them is lagging behind. In reality, the problems facing the sector are much more fundamental. It has become a mammoth machinery that has, in many ways, lost track of what it stands for.