International Crises and Disasters: U.S. Humanitarian Assistance Response Mechanisms [October 16, 2015] [open pdf - 723KB]
"The majority of humanitarian emergencies worldwide stem from natural disasters or from conflicts. Congress has consistently supported humanitarian efforts as a means of saving lives, promoting stability, and furthering U.S. foreign policy objectives. Intervention results in varying amounts of relief and recovery assistance and can have an important impact not only on the relief operation itself but on broader foreign policy issues. In the 114th Congress, international humanitarian and refugee assistance is expected to continue to have a strong measure of bipartisan interest, with key policy issues focused on budget priorities, levels and types of funding, the sources of other support available worldwide, and the ways in which operational assistance is delivered. […] This report examines U.S. humanitarian assistance in international crises and disaster situations. It considers the sources and types of U.S. government aid, the response mechanisms of key U.S. agencies and departments, and possible issues for Congress--including competing aid and budget priorities, burdensharing and donor-fatigue, the transparency and efficacy of U.S. humanitarian assistance, consequences of such assistance, and potential links to broader U.S. foreign policy goals."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33769