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Distrust in emergency management: The impact of reduced information exchange

Bjørn Ivar Kruke, MSc, PhD

Abstract


Coordination of humanitarian operations in complex emergencies require joint initiatives from mutually dependent actors, such as the host government, large UN agencies, international and national nongovernmental organizations, and the population. To master the challenges of coordination, building trust relations between these actors is essential, trust relations based on the willingness to communicate, to share information, and to cooperate. However, distrust between the displaced population and host government is often seen in complex emergencies and influences the agencies coming to the emergency area. This article concludes that distrust leads to reduced information exchange and thereby increased distrust. Although distrust in the authorities is well founded in Darfur, humanitarian operations without the authorities are not possible. The right personalities in key positions and smaller forums for information exchange increase the likelihood of trust-building between individual emergency managers from the various actors; trust-building is necessary for reliable emergency management.

Keywords


complex emergency; trust and distrust; coordination; information exchange

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2009.0002

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