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Disasters in Complex Political Emergencies - HEA00100M

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  • Department: Health Sciences
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Jo Rose
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Additional information

Important note: module pre-requisite
Please note that the requirement to complete Global Public Health as a pre-requisite for this module applies only to students on the Master of Public Health. It does not apply to students on the MSc International Humanitarian Affairs.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
B Spring Term 2024-25

Module aims

Based on the argument that natural hazards create disasters when they collide with human beings, this module will examine disasters in complex political emergencies. Examining case studies from Sri Lanka (2004 tsunami and the conflict), Aceh (2004 tsunami and the conflict), Somalia (2004 tsunami and the conflict) and Central African Republic (famine and the conflict), the module aims to encourage students to examine and understand the double-bind catastrophe that people are facing through disasters in complex political emergencies. Further, the module will deliver a deep-level learning of the political (national and international), social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects of field realities.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

  • Students will link the challenges and problems in disasters within complex political emergencies.
  • Students will critically engage with existing policies on complex political emergencies to develop ways to incorporate disaster responses.
  • Students will understand the complexity of humanitarian responses to conflicts and disasters.

Academic and graduate skills

  • Students will link different concepts to strengthen humanitarian responses.
  • Students will understand complexity in designing, managing, monitoring and evaluating humanitarian responses to disasters and conflicts.
  • Students will learn new skills to develop policy and practice to respond to disasters in complex political emergencies.

Module content

This module will provide the opportunity for students to understand the complex nature of disasters in complex political emergencies as an emerging challenge in humanitarian responses.

As a thematic area of the humanitarian discourse, it is important that the students in this module are familiar with the key publications in the field. BY developing an annotated bibliography for formative assessment, students will be able to familiarise themselves with the literature, as well as being able to use them in their essay.



Task Length % of module mark
3000 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
3000 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback will be provided on the standard proforma within the timescale specified in the programme handbook.

Indicative reading

Duffield, M. (1996) The symphony of the demand: radical discourse, complex political emergencies and humanitarian aid. Disasters, 20 (3), p. 173-193.

O'Dempsey, T. and Musnlow, B. (2009) 'Mind the gap!' rethinking the role of health in the emergency and development divide. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management, 24 (S1), p.21-29.

Harris, K., Keen, D. and Mitchell, T. (2013) When disasters and conflicts collide. Overseas Development Institute, 2013.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.