IRRC No. 884

Civil–military relations in natural disasters: a case study of the 2010 Pakistan floods

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In 2010, Pakistan was struck by devastating floods, the latest in a series of disasters to strike the country in recent years. As it had during the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, the Pakistan military played a significant operational and co-ordination role in the humanitarian response that followed. Its role raised important questions about civil–military relations between humanitarian actors and national (as opposed to international) militaries. This article looks at the interaction between the humanitarian community and the Pakistan military in responding to the 2010 floods in order to identify key successes and challenges. It also highlights a number of issues that emerged in the context of Pakistan but that may also be relevant to civil–military relations – particularly between the humanitarian community and the national military of an affected state – in other natural disaster and complex emergency settings.

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