the lost american Humanitarian Organizations

Refugees International

Refugees International advocates for refugees through diplomacy and the press. Their site is large, well-organized and covers a range of humanitarian issues from landmines in Cambodia, to the famine in North Korea, to Burmese refugees. It offers a few video accounts of refugees' stories and has a search option that links to material on refugee issues in specific regions/countries. There's also a good index of documents, reports, news articles and op-ed pieces organized by topic/date, all dealing with refugees and relief aid.


This site is a good starting point for some general background on recent disasters and humanitarian crises and how humanitarian aid response. ReliefWeb is a project of the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs and aims to enhance logistical, tactical and strategic decision-making in the delivery of humanitarian aid through reliable informatoin on the situation, actors and resources.

You'll find here over 200 maps of countries and regions; a "News Update" section (updated daily) with information on crisis situations worldwide; and a "Background" section with histories on forty-five events monitored on the site. The "Natural Disasters" section charts 1997's alarmingly large number of natural disasters -- from El Nino to Typhoon Winnie to Montserrat's volcanic eruption - with background information and updates. There is also lot's of additional resources that can be found under "Resource" and "News Search" on disasters and relief aid.

International Rescue Committee

Founded in 1933, the International Rescue Committee is the voluntary organization involved in resettlement assistance, global emergency relief, rehabilitation, and advocacy for refugees. The IRC web site offers a list of humanitarian work job openings, a synopsis of the IRC's global programs and a collection of responses from IRC volunteers.


InterAction is a coalition of over 150 US-based non-profit organizations which are usually the first to respond to a crisis. InterAction coordinates and promotes relief aid progrms. This site contains information on its 160 member organizations and their publications and provides weekly disaster reports - such as UN background information on North Korea's famine and what non-profit organizations are doing to help.

Oxfam America /Washington

Oxfam is a development and relief agency working to end poverty.

The site contains a"What's Going On" section with a weekly update on issues, and summaries of Oxfam's latest campaigns - such as banning landmines and protesting British companies who use sweat shop labor. The site tells you how to get involved, contains a large collection of policy and research papers and offers a manifesto on why the world needs to continue overseas programs to help the world's poorest.


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, created by the UN General Assembly, provides assistance to refugees around the world. In addition to country-by-country updates of the refugee situation, the web site's 'News' section tracks the development of more recent and faster developing situations like those in Africa and the former Yugoslavia. The site covers the world's refugee situation from all angles: political, economic, moral, and personal. One of the site's highlights is an online documentary, "Witness," which recounts a Bosnian refugee's story. For teachers, there's a guide on how to use the UNHCR site in secondary school courses.

Doctors Without Borders

Doctors Without Borders delivers medical help to populations endangered by war, civil strife, epidemics or natural disasters. Each year over 2,000 volunteer doctors representing 45 nationalities work worldwide in front-line hospitals, refugee camps, disaster sites, towns and villages.providing primary health care, performing surgery, vaccinating children, operating emergency nutrition and sanitation programs and training local medical staff.

This interesting and well designed site offers a good view of world health issues through the eyes of these volunteer doctors. It offers a long list of global diseases and their status, and an updated "This Week ' section on latest crises areas and activities. Some of the sections worth checking out are the personal interviews with doctors and 'Launching a Mission' which describes how and when this organization decide to go into a crisis - and what it involves.

International Crisis Group

The International Crisis Group (ICG), founded in 1995, is a private, multinational organization which seeks to provide international policy-makers with objective and informed information and analysis geared to head off impending crises in unstable parts of the world. ICG uses private high-level contacts and the media to disseminate its findings and mobilize support for more effective international response to crises. ICG is chaired by former U.S. Senate majority leader George Mitchell. Its board of trustees includes former presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers from around the world, as well as prominent figures from business and the media.

The site is clearly organized with maps showing crisis situations such as the Balkans and Africa. There are numerous links to text material containing ICG's evaluation of what needs to be done to promote peace and stability.


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent government agency that provides economic development and humanitarian assistance to advance U.S. economic and political interests overseas. It was established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy.

Most of the web site consists of strategy papers--essays on economic policy, environmental issues, public health, and the support of democratic principles in regions from Africa to Central America. There is also information on employment opportunities with USAID.

World Neighbors

World Neighbors, a grassroots development organization, works with the poor in rural villages in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The organization seeks to lessen the effects of hunger, disease and poverty. Their "Field Notes" section offers some specific cases of the group's programs - for example, soil enrichment teaching and practice in Bolivia.

International Organization for Migration

IOM is an intergovernmental organization of 59 Member States and 42 Observers . Since 1951 it has operated programs worldwide to assist migrants and refugees to resettle in third countries, repatriate to their home countries, or move to temporary safe havens. This site includes detailed explanations of specific refugee programs -- their intent, challenges and successes. The site is laid out simply. Additional information exists on the INDIX Database, which remains accessible only through Netscape 2.0.

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