Key messages •• Despite the difficulties posed by working in high-intensity conflict scenarios, the main challenge of disaster response is not safety but the complexity of the logistics and obtaining large amounts of funding. In such overwhelming situations, not everyone who needs help can receive it. •• Insecurity and access problems nevertheless also impact the prioritization of aid, causing aid actors to favour working with communities in or near areas they have worked with before. •• Aid is highly political and humanitarian actors need to maneuver through complex, multi-actor governance systems. They engage in negotiations with multiple actors navigating multiple interests. •• Confronted by situations where priorities must be managed, aid actors engage in a ‘triage of aid’. Unlike a priori targeting, this is a continuous process of prioritization and decision-making, for example through rapid response assessments. They also use flexible programmes and adaptive management, getting ‘creative’ with the logistics and sometimes turning to private funding. Aid actors should be continuously reflecting on the priorities and the triage, but in practice donor conditions do not always provide such flexibility.

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Mena Fluhmann, R.A. (2019). Prioritizing disaster response in a context of high-intensity conflict: the case of South Sudan. Retrieved from