Exhibition announcement ‘The Emergency Aid Machine’ at ‘Humanity House’ The Hague

The photo project ‘The Emergency Aid Machine’ will be on show at the Humanity House in The Hague, The Netherlands. When a disaster hits, emergency aid is often provided within a few hours. If you donate money to an aid organization, it is directly converted to blankets and food in a disaster area. But how does that work, exactly? And how can it be done better? These are the questions photographer Pieter van den Boogert and journalist Maite Vermeulen researched for online journalism platform De Correspondent.

Van den Boogert and Vermeulen conceived of emergency aid as a machine, with cogs turning all over the world. During a disaster, the machine runs at full speed, but even in more quiet times the machine sputters – in preparation of the next disaster, or in the aftermath of a previous one.

For this project they visited nine countries to map all the clogs of the emergency aid machine. They started far away from the chaos, at the offices where emergency aid is organized (in Brussels, Geneva, Rome and The Hague). Next, they looked at the logistics of emergency aid: warehouses full of emergency goods, waiting for the next disaster (in Dubai, Brussels, Schiphol and Brindisi). They then considered the aid machine when it was on stand-by, preparing for a new disaster, for instance by simulating disasters, or reinforcing buildings (in Estonia, the Netherlands, Nepal and the United States). Finally, they explored the aftermath of a disaster (in the Philippines and Haïti): how does an affected country scramble back up on its feet?

This exhibition shows the exact ways in which the world provides emergency aid to those in need.

Date: 12 February 2015 to 31 December 2015
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The Emergency Aid Machine was made possible by the Fund Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten and the Postcode Lottery Fund for Journalists of Free Press Unlimited.