When disaster strikes, George Rupp â64 takes action. As CEO and president of the International Rescue Committee for the last eight years, he has raised funds and coordinated responses to help people affected by natural disasters like earthquakes and storms, as well as other humanitarian crises in post-conflict regions. His latest work has been focused on aiding some of the 15 million people displaced by catastrophic flooding in Pakistan.
The floods, from unusually heavy monsoon rains, have caused a relatively low death toll -- about 1,500 people, according to The New York Times -- but danger persists for millions of people in hard-to-reach areas who have limited access to food, clean water, and medical care. Online donations from individuals have lagged so far, compared with other recent disasters, but Rupp told the Times that a recent United Nations plea for more aid should "get anybody's attention."
Rupp, who received the University's Woodrow Wilson Award in 2005, spent most of his career in higher education, first as a professor and dean at the Harvard Divinity School and later as the president of Rice University and Columbia University. He turned to humanitarian work full-time shortly after retiring from Columbia in 2002.
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