Humanitarian emergencies
in A history of humanitarianism, 1755–1989
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At the end of the 1960s, in a profoundly altered context, the armed conflicts that shook the fragile and still unstable postcolonial set-up once again brought relief to war victims to the centre of humanitarian action. The conflict immediately following the secession of Biafra from Nigeria (1967–69) was only the first in a series of dramatic events that grabbed the attention of the public and from time to time became new emergencies within which the now complex situation of international relief acted. The secession of Bangladesh and the war between India and Pakistan (1971); the fall of the Pol Pot regime and the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia (1979); the famine following the dictatorship and internal conflicts in Ethiopia (1984–85): these were the most significant cases through which humanitarianism took on or showed the distinctive features that still characterise it today.

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