Military Engagement in Disaster Response Policies, Interests and Issues

Type: Chapter 

Description: Over the past twenty years, the world has witnessed large-scale disasters which have initiated significant international humanitarian efforts to provide disaster relief to affected countries. In 2003 the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami caused widespread disruption from the east coast of Africa to the Asia-Pacific. It saw the activation of militaries, civilian and UN agencies, NGOs and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to assist affected governments and people. Five years later, Myanmar was affected by Cyclone Nargis in 2008 which left 138,366 people dead and 1.5 million in the Irrawaddy delta severely affected. This time, the international humanitarian effort was initially stymied by the reluctance of the military junta in power in Myanmar to admit foreign military forces into the country, and was made possible only by the personal diplomacy of Southeast Asian officials through ASEAN under the Tripartite Core Group which facilitated the humanitarian response from the international community to those affected in Myanmar.

Author(s): Alistair DB Cook 

Published in: Strategy and Defense Policy for Small States: Problems and Prospects, Edited by Bernard F.W. Loo, pp. 105-130 (2021)

Publisher(s): World Scientific Publishing 

Publication Date: December 2021 

Pages: 25

Publication webpage: 


  • Vulnerability
  • Civil Military Cooperation
  • Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)
  • Human Security
  • National Security

Other Keywords: Diplomacy