It can often take many years to assess the long-term effects, if any, of humanitarian aid in post-disaster situations. One example is the situation in Nicaragua following Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
There, medico international had been supporting partners and projects since the mid-1970s and responded with humanitarian aid immediately after the hurricane. The emergency relief programme brought us into contact with surviving campesino families who had been forced to flee from their villages and land by a mudslide. Returning home was not an option. Most of them had lost many of their relatives during the mudslide and were in a state of severe shock at the total collapse of their normal living conditions. Despite this, they managed to establish a village at a new site, set up an agricultural cooperative, restore their own livelihoods and even develop prospects for their children’s futures.
Since then the village, called El Tanque, has become a symbol of a viable alternative to neoliberal approaches to development.