Humanitarian Motivations

Authored by: Travis Nelson

The Routledge Companion to Humanitarian Action

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415844420
eBook ISBN: 9780203753422
Adobe ISBN: 9781135013936


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On 21 June 1990 an enormous earthquake killed more than 50,000 people in northern Iran. It was one of the worst natural disasters in Iranian history, and countries around the world offered aid to assist in recovery efforts. Surprising many, Iran accepted almost all of this aid (refusing only assistance from Israel and South Africa) and in the aftermath of the disaster resumed diplomatic ties with the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Mauritania. The Tehran Times went so far as to declare this aspect of the earthquake a ‘blessing in disguise’ (Colvin and Fazel 1990).

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