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But what about those without evacuation insurance?

May 27, 2011

A new article in The Guardian examines the increasing threats aid workers face around the world, arguing that as a result of the securitisation of the business, aid workers are now commonly associated with Western military interventions, a new colonial force, making them targets for attacks. Flavia Wagner, and American aid worker, is given as an example, who after being kidnapped in Darfur in 2010, is now suing her former employer for not having sufficient contingency plans for cases of kidnap.

I have tremendous empathy for those aid workers facing increasing security threats. Staff security is a serious issue, and if I accepted a post in a less safe setting I would like to trust that my employer had done all that they could to keep me safe.

However, ultimately, it would be my choice to go there. Reading the article in The Guardian, I couldn’t help but think ‘what about those without evacuation insurance?’. I could pack up my life and be out of Bamako overnight if needs be, happily slotting back into an English comfort zone. But what of those aid workers who, if kidnapped, attacked at their workplace or on their way home, have to then go on living their life in that place as best as they can, continuing their work, maybe taking that same road each day?

That’s why I was encouraged to then see the Guardian photo series’ Health workers on the frontline of conflict‘, as part of  Merlin campaign to highlight the vital role, and risks, local health workers face in conflict zones. Although Merlin’s campaign focuses on the importance the health worker’s work, the photos are a nice reminder of the sacrifices that health workers and other local aid workers also have to make in their role.

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