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The humanitarian crises which occurred in the recent past demostrate the importance of adequate and informed emergency relief interventions. The study shows that the analysis of causes, costs and trends of disasters and violent conflicts in developing countries is essential for effective emergency relief management. A conceptual framework of the role of information in crises and of decision-making in these emergency situations that integrates economic aspects is developed. A computer-based decision-support system is proposed for use in disaster management. The conceptual considerations are illustrated by two case studies on food emergencies in Angola (conflict and drought) and Mozambique (flood). It is shown that the external conditions of crises call for adaptive and flexible intervention packages instead of predesigned solutions.