Humanitarian Response Without Humans: How can we help, when we can’t get there?

Matthew Lloyd, Paul Gardner-Stephen, Hlekiwe Kachali

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


COVID19 has made the global humanitarian context more vulnerable and complex than ever. In particular, it has already resulted in the situation where response to significant disasters, such as Cyclone Harold in Vanuatu, has been greatly impaired by the reduced ability to safely and responsibly deploy humanitarian responders when and where they are needed. These are, however, not new problems: COVID19 has only served to amplify the existing problems.In this paper, we explore how careful and strategic use of existing and emerging technologies can be used to mitigate this problem, by analyzing the humanitarian roles and functions that need to be provided, and then creating technology packages that can both meet those needs, and be boot-strapped in country, without the need for any personnel to deploy into the disaster zone. Or perhaps more realistically, how the need for deploying personnel can be simultaneously minimized, and be primarily met from personnel already in-situ. Among other contributions, we identify that technologies designed for remote support injection into disaster zones should embody self-evident function and value, self-sufficiency, self-configuration and self-regulation, to ensure rapid, effective and maintainable delivery of humanitarian assistance from afar.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2020 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, GHTC 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-7388-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-7281-7389-4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2020
Event2020 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC) - (Virtual), Seattle, United States
Duration: 29 Oct 20201 Nov 2020
Conference number: 10th

Publication series

Name2020 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, GHTC 2020


Conference2020 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC)
Abbreviated titleIEEE-GHTC 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
OtherThe 10th IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (IEEE GHTC 2020) is an international flagship conference sharing practical technology enabled solutions addressing the needs of underserved populations and resource constrained environments around the world and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG).
Internet address


  • COVID-19
  • humanitarian
  • Technology


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