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Leah Campbell | Research Officer, ALNAP

There’s a common folk tale that paints the picture of six blind men who come across an elephant for the first time. Each of the men approaches the elephant and blindly feels what is in front of him. One finds the trunk, another the tail, another the foot, another the ear and so on. 

What does this have to do with humanitarian response? Like the six blind men in the tale, humanitarians responding in urban contexts have approached the city in the same way the men approached the elephant.


Humanitarian Exchange Magazine #67

September's issue of the Humanitarian Exchange Magazine focuses on refugees and vulnerable migrants in Europe. From the role and implications of volunteers in the response, to the limits of deterrance policies designed to determine people's migration choices, this timely edition covers a wide range of issues on this pressing topic.



Stepping back: understanding cities and their systems

Urban disasters differ in some fundamentally important ways from rural disasters. In recent decades the rapid increase in the number of people living in cities has forced the humanitarian community to reconsider how best to respond. Recent research has identified the importance of working within existing systems and with local stakeholders in urban humanitarian response. Our new research seeks to understand: what is meant by urban systems and stakeholders, who is trying to understand what about urban systems and stakeholders and how, why this understanding is important, and how effective are existing tools/guidance in providing information about urban systems and stakeholders?

 Read more about our urban response research


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