Humanitarian crises in urban areas: are area-based approaches to programming and coordination the way forward?

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The humanitarian landscape is changing. The world is urbanising rapidly and natural disasters and displacement crises will increasingly occur in urban settings. The size and complexity of towns and cities requires different approaches to delivering assistance, compared to approaches deployed in remote, rural areas or in refugee camps. Humanitarian organisations must adapt to this new reality in order to meet the needs of impacted populations and to support the city and its systems. The key messages of the report include: interventions in urban areas must take in to account the existing urban context; a common understanding of terminology is required; programme design in urban areas should be approached geographically; the humanitarian sector should invest in developing expertise and generating evidence on the best ways to meet the needs of affected populations in urban areas; and coordination mechanisms in urban areas should be flexible and can can no longer be ‘one-size fits all’.

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