¿Qué tan efectiva es la ayuda en caso de desastres?

Cuando sucede un desastre, las organizaciones no gubernamentales (ONGs) están entre las primeras que llegan al lugar. Naciones Unidas estima que actualmente hay más de 37,000 ONGs internacionales, y los donadores más importantes recurren cada vez más a ellas.

Inevitablemente hay problemas. Tanto en el genocidio de Rwanda en 1994 como en el tsunami del Océano Índico de 2004 hubo una competencia caótica entre las ONGs. Sin embargo, también ha habido éxitos notables. Más de 1,400 ONGs que operan en 90 países ayudaron a que 123 países ratificaran el tratado para prohibir las minas terrestres. Pero la escala gigantesca de la “industria” de la ayuda en caso de desastres –aunada a los esfuerzos de desarrollo a plazo más largo de las ONGs—está planteando preocupaciones serias sobre la forma de medir su desempeño.

La flexibilidad permite a las ONGs ser innovadoras en formas en que organizaciones como la ONU frecuentemente no pueden serlo. Pero hay pocas reglas internacionales sobre lo que es efectivamente una ONG y la falta de control puede conducir a consecuencias imprevistas. Recientemente, en Chad la ONG francesa L’Arche de Zoé intentó sacar ilegalmente a unos niños del país sin obtener el permiso de sus padres o del gobierno.

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