Even in Chaos: Education in Times of Emergency

Even in Chaos: Education in Times of Emergency

Even in Chaos: Education in Times of Emergency

Even in Chaos: Education in Times of Emergency

Excerpt

The prioritizing of health care in or just after wide-scale emergencies is done by a process called triage. The goal is to identify and assist the viable and devote available resources and manpower to assure that as many as possible of those injured survive. In the medical sphere—and I know this best as a physician who has worked extensively in conflict, post-conflict, and disaster situations—trained personnel must make rapid decisions as to who can be helped, and in what order. Medical triage is based on clinical judgment, rules, and standards derived from the difficult experiences of previous disasters. The early phase of such triage operations are dramatic—the stuff of television shows and movies—and often profoundly unsatisfying. One prays for the calm, the time when a multipronged therapeutic approach can be possible.

That is when all the many contributors needed to address complex humanitarian crises begin to serve as full and equal partners. Postconflict operations demand many skills and are successful only when there is full coordination. Every profession is tempted to deceive itself that in resolving crises their contribution is the most important. Medical personnel, maybe more than most, may erroneously view the healing arts as the sine qua non in collaborative efforts.

Unfortunately, education has often been considered an indulgence that can be postponed till the development phase of reconstruction. That approach not only fails to provide an essential and comprehensive right of education for all, but it also denies to innocent, vulnerable . . .

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