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close this bookHandbook for Emergencies - Second Edition (UNHCR, 1999, 414 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentUsing the Handbook
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentAbbreviations
View the documentUNHCR's Mission Statement
close this folder1. Aim and Principles of Response
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View the documentDefinition and Aim
View the documentResponsibilities
View the documentPrinciples of Response
close this folder2. Protection
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View the documentProtection in Emergencies
View the documentInitial Actions
View the documentPhysical Safety of Refugees
View the documentEmergencies as a Result of Changes in Government Policy
View the documentOther Persons of Concern to UNHCR
View the documentDurable Solutions
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View the documentAnnexes
close this folder3. Emergency Management
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View the documentThe Key Emergency Management Functions
View the documentStages in Refugee Emergency Operations
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close this folder4. Contingency Planning
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close this folder5. Initial Assessment, Immediate Response
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close this folder6. Operations Planning
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close this folder7. Coordination and Site Level Organization
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close this folder8. Implementing Arrangements
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View the documentImplementing Arrangements
View the documentImplementing Procedures
View the documentMonitoring, Reporting and Evaluation
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close this folder9. External Relations
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close this folder10. Community Services and Education
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close this folder11. Population Estimation and Registration
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close this folder12. Site Selection, Planning and Shelter
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View the documentShelter
View the documentReception and Transit Camps
View the documentPublic Buildings and Communal Facilities
close this folder13. Commodity Distribution
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View the documentChoosing a Commodity Distribution System
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View the documentThe Role of Refugee Women
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close this folder14. Health
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View the documentHealth Assessment, Planning, Monitoring and Surveillance
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close this folder15. Food and Nutrition
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close this folder16. Water
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View the documentThe Need
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close this folder17. Environmental Sanitation
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close this folder18. Supplies and Transport
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close this folder19. Voluntary Repatriation
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close this folder20. Administration, Staffing and Finance
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close this folder21. Communications
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close this folder22. Coping with Stress
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close this folder23. Staff Safety
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View the documentThe UN Security System
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close this folder24. Working with the Military
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View the documentCategories of Military Forces
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View the documentCoordination Between Military Forces and Civilian Agencies
View the documentKey References
View the documentAppendix 1 - Catalogue of Emergency Response Resources
View the documentAppendix 2 - Toolbox
View the documentAppendix 3 - Memoranda
View the documentAppendix 4 - Glossary

Telecommunications

9. Effective telecommunications requires staff and equipment dedicated to that task. When planning telecommunications requirements, the Regional Telecommunications Officer and the Telecommunications Unit at Headquarters should be involved as early as possible. These can help to identify experienced UNHCR telecommunications staff who could be deployed to the operation. Emergency staff can include telecoms officers from UNHCR's standby arrangements. If necessary these officers can be used to supplement UNHCR Telecom staff.

Telecommunications Infrastructure

10. The existing telecommunications infrastructure of the country may not support UNHCR's requirements, because the infrastructure may be either inadequate or damaged. Certain security situations can also result in the telecommunications facilities being closed down or drastically reduced (in which case cellular telephone networks would also be unavailable).

11. UNHCR maintains a stockpile of telecommunications equipment for rapid deployment to emergencies (see Appendix 1, Catalogue of Emergency Response Resources). This equipment provides emergency response staff with immediate communication links from even the most remote locations.

Types of Telecommunications

12. The following are the principle means of telecommunication currently available for use by UNHCR:

i. Telephone. Telephones can be connected through standard landlines or cellular networks for communications within the country, and through international or satellite connections (VSAT, INMARSAT - see Annex 1) for communications with other countries;

ii. Fax. Facsimile (fax) operates over standard telephone lines, or satellite (VSAT, INMARSAT) connections. Fax facilities are available to and from most countries, however it is more expensive and less easily relayed than e-mail;

iii. E-mail. E-mail also operates over standard telephone lines or satellite connections. In the initial phase of an operation, e-mail can be obtained through portable satellite terminals, or using local phone lines if available, and later the SITA network or DAMA satellite system (see Annex 1) can be used if there is a suitable connection point;

iv. Radio. Radio can be used for voice and written communication (including e-mail and electronic data). Installation by qualified technicians is required. In an emergency it is almost always necessary to set up radio networks to ensure communications between UNHCR offices and between UNHCR and other agencies. The radio network will also provide an emergency backup for communications with Headquarters in the event of landline communications being cut. Mobile radios (handheld or installed in vehicles) enable staff in the immediate region to maintain contact with one another and with the office;

v. VSAT (or Very Small Aperture Terminal - a slight misnomer as the smallest dish size is 1.8-2.4 metres in diameter). VSAT is used for telephone, fax, electronic data and e-mail communication. Installing VSAT is a substantial undertaking and must be carried out by qualified technicians; vi. Telex. Although telex is used less and less, it still remains an option where it is available.