The military’s role in providing assistance to civilians in crises is not a new phenomenon. Nevertheless, the past decade has witnessed a significant growth in this, as some military forces have provided an increasing amount of aid to people affected by humanitarian crises, not only in conflicts, but also in response to natural disasters. In some cases, such as Afghanistan, military forces have provided aid as part of their wider political and military objectives. In others, such as the floods in China, the military regularly plays a major technical role in responding to disasters. This technical role can be complicated when the natural disaster occurs amidst internal conflict, as was the case in Aceh and Sri Lanka in the 2004 tsunami.
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