Challenges in humanitarian information management and exchange: evidence from Haiti

Journal articles or issues
January 2014
Nezih Altay and Melissa Labonte
There is a growing recognition of the critical role information management can play in shaping effective humanitarian response, coordination and decision-making. Quality information, reaching more humanitarian actors, will result in better coordination and better decision-making, thus improving the response to beneficiaries as well as accountability to donors. The humanitarian response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake marked a watershed moment for humanitarian information management. Yet the fragmented nature of the response and the use of hierarchical models of information management, along with other factors, have led some observers to label the Haiti response a failure. Using an analytical framework often found in humanitarian emergencies, this study analyses challenges to information flow in the Haiti case and the implications for effective humanitarian response. It concludes by offering possible paths for overcoming such challenges, and for restoring the value and utility of humanitarian information management and exchange in humanitarian relief settings.