Category Archives: The Urban Bomb

Humanitarianism at the heart of tomorrow’s urban challenges

Emmanuel Matteudi  • Professeur des universités en urbanisme, Université Aix-Marseille

E. Matteudi

The urban clinical picture is disquieting, but not hopeless. Emmanuel Matteudi, in his analysis of the world’s urban explosion, appropriately reminds us that humanitarianism, lying at the heart of the challenges facing tomorrow’s cities, will not be able to act alone.
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A development NGO faced with a major emergency in an urban environment

Renaud Colombier • Responsable de programmes développement urbain et habitat au Gret (ex-Groupe de recherche et d’échanges technologiques)

R. Colombier

Before being struck by an unforgettable earthquake, Port-au-Prince was a city. For this very reason it suffered so many deaths, injuries and devastations. The experience of GRET (former Group for Research and Technology Exchanges), as recounted here by Renaud Colombier, provides food for thought about the links that must be forged between development and emergency humanitarian aid actors. Continue reading

A virtuous circle of collaboration for an efficient urban humanitarian response: Kampala

Louise Thaller  • Senior Programme Officer at IMPACT Initiatives

Innocent Silver  • Project Coordinator at the Kampala Capital City Authority

L. Thallier

I. Silver

As the country in Africa that receives the greatest number of refugees, Uganda has an open and inclusive migratory policy. The authorities of the capital, Kampala, have put in place an innovative and comprehensive project for the management of the needs of migrants and of the host population. The project, which brings together local and national authorities, international NGOs and local associations, benefited from the support of the think-tank IMPACT Initiatives. Continue reading

The “Officials of 40 Street” in N’Djamena: a phenomenon outside the humanitarian field

Emmanuel Bossennec  • Coordinateur du Pôle formation à l’association La Voûte nubienne

E. Bossennec

The capital of Chad is experiencing a phenomenon which is common to many other African cities. These young people who “come to the city”, being neither refugees nor displaced persons, pass under the radar of humanitarian workers and politicians alike. They nevertheless represent a situation which ought to concern them both. Continue reading

Overcoming barriers for treating people who use drugs in an urban setting

Alan González, Alexandra Malm, Lucas Molfino, Carlota Silva  • MSF Operational Centre Geneva

A. González

A. Malm


Reaching drug users in urban contexts is as much a challenge as it is a social and health requirement. In Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, Médecins Sans Frontières has developed a medical approach adapted to a population at high risk, stigmatised and criminalised.

L. Molfino

C. Silva

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Resilience as a protection strategy in informal settlements

Pablo Cortés Ferrández  • PhD Student (Human Rights Institute at the University of Deusto, Spain)

P. C. Ferrández

The city as a refuge or as a prison. Pablo Cortés Ferrández carried out a study in Altos de la Florida, an informal settlement in the municipality of Soacha in Colombia. This vulnerable urban community is a reflection of a global phenomenon which must lead humanitarian workers to rethink their interventions, together with local actors and, of course, the populations. Continue reading

Can gangs play a role in providing relief?

Diego R. Fernandez Otegui • PhD student in Disaster Science and Management (University of Delaware)

D. R. F. Otegui

The thesis is daring, but in the extreme context of urbanisation and violence in Latin America, it deserves to be asked. In this article, indeed, the author analyses the extent to which gangs could play a role in providing relief to populations. More questioning than affirmative, Diego Otegui calls above all to overcome simplistic visions and developing research in this field.


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Urban warfare: a challenge for humanitarian law and action

Julien Antouly • Chargé de développement à la Fondation Croix-Rouge française

J. Antouly

Increasingly, war is being fought in urban areas. Because it is where the centres of power are based, where resources are concentrated and where the civilian population can be held hostage. A situation that questions the law of war and the intervention strategies adopted by humanitarian organisations. Continue reading