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In honor of World Humanitarian Day, Jeremy Konyndyk argues that the core humanitarian imperative—that lifesaving aid should be provided to all in need on the basis of their humanity, regardless of beliefs or identities—is increasingly under threat.
With Hurricane Irma now pushing a devastating path through the Caribbean, USAID is gearing up to do what it does best. Its Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs) do amazing work—deploying rapidly in the wake of natural hazards like hurricanes and often bringing the logistical might of the US military with them. These teams go in big and fast to save lives, distribute food, set up emergency shelter, and prevent secondary impacts like disease outbreaks. But then things begin to falter.