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How would we deal with aid from abroad?

18 August 2010

Emergency response volunteer directs people through flood© InfoEvery year, the United Kingdom supports numerous countries around the world following disasters. But what would happen if we were suddenly the ones needing help from abroad?

Despite a recent spate of flooding and severe winter weather, the United Kingdom is generally much less susceptible to large-scale natural disasters – such as earthquakes and hurricanes – than many other countries.

However, what if the UK was hit by a large-scale disaster that meant we needed international relief from beyond our borders? That’s the subject of a new report commissioned by the British Red Cross, which explores the legal and operational implications for the UK if such an event should ever occur.

International relief

The report outlines likely disaster scenarios in the UK, and recommends courses of action that could help prevent technical and legal difficulties arising during the delivery of international relief.

It also looks at the British Overseas Territories which, due to their location, can be more susceptible to natural disasters and thus more likely to need help from beyond their borders.

Michael Meyer, head of international law, said: “This report provides some clear and pragmatic recommendations concerning the UK’s possible future need for international relief following a major disaster. We hope it is useful to those domestic policy-makers and legislators charged with overseeing the UK civil contingencies framework.”

Learn more about international humanitarian law

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