Cover Image
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
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDefinition and Aim
View the documentResponsibilities
View the documentPrinciples of Response
close this folder2. Protection
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
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
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder3. Emergency Management
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe Key Emergency Management Functions
View the documentStages in Refugee Emergency Operations
View the documentKey References
close this folder4. Contingency Planning
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentPlanning as a Process
View the documentContingency Planning Tasks
View the documentCharacteristics of a Good Plan
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder5. Initial Assessment, Immediate Response
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentOrganizing the Assessment
View the documentImmediate Response
View the documentProtection and Material Assistance
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder6. Operations Planning
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentOperations Planning Tasks
View the documentAllocation of Responsibilities
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder7. Coordination and Site Level Organization
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentCoordination
View the documentOrganization at the Site Level
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder8. Implementing Arrangements
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentImplementing Arrangements
View the documentImplementing Procedures
View the documentMonitoring, Reporting and Evaluation
View the documentSpecial Considerations
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder9. External Relations
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentRelations with Government and Diplomatic Corps
View the documentRelations with the Media
View the documentFunding and Donor Relations
View the documentFormal Written Communications
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder10. Community Services and Education
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOverview
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentOrganizing Community Services
View the documentHuman Resources
View the documentFamily Tracing and Reunification
View the documentGroups at Risk and Vulnerable Groups
View the documentEducation
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder11. Population Estimation and Registration
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOverview
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentPopulation Estimates
View the documentRegistration
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder12. Site Selection, Planning and Shelter
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOverview
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentOrganization of Response
View the documentCriteria for Site Selection
View the documentSite Planning: General Considerations
View the documentSite Planning: Specific Infrastructure
View the documentShelter
View the documentReception and Transit Camps
View the documentPublic Buildings and Communal Facilities
close this folder13. Commodity Distribution
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOverview
View the documentWhen to start distribution
View the documentChoosing a Commodity Distribution System
View the documentComponents of Distribution Systems
View the documentThe Role of Refugee Women
View the documentMonitoring
View the documentKey References
close this folder14. Health
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOverview
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentHealth Assessment, Planning, Monitoring and Surveillance
View the documentMain Health Programmes
View the documentOrganization of Refugee Health Care
View the documentHuman Resources and Coordination
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder15. Food and Nutrition
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOverview
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentOrganization of Food Support
View the documentNutritional Assessments
View the documentGeneral Feeding Programme
View the documentSelective Feeding Programmes
View the documentInfant Feeding and use of Milk Products
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder16. Water
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOverview
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentAssessment and Organization
View the documentThe Need
View the documentImmediate Response
View the documentWater Supply Systems
View the documentWater Sources
View the documentPumping Equipment
View the documentTreatment
View the documentStorage
View the documentDistribution
View the documentKey References
close this folder17. Environmental Sanitation
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOverview
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentBasic Principles And Standards
View the documentHuman Resources And Organization
View the documentHuman Excretia Disposal
View the documentSolid Wastes
View the documentWastewater
View the documentPest and Vector Control
View the documentGeneral Hygiene
View the documentDisposal Of The Dead
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder18. Supplies and Transport
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOverview
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentOrganization of the Supply Chain
View the documentSupplies
View the documentTransport
View the documentReception of Goods
View the documentStorage
View the documentStock Management
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder19. Voluntary Repatriation
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOverview
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentUNHCR's Role in Voluntary Repatriation
View the documentConditions For a Voluntary Repatriation
View the documentOn Route
View the documentOn Arrival in Country of Origin
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder20. Administration, Staffing and Finance
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentEmergency Staffing
View the documentBudget and Finance
View the documentNon-Expendable Property and Office Supplies
View the documentOffice Premises
View the documentOfficial Transport
View the documentOffice Organization
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder21. Communications
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentCommunications Management
View the documentTelecommunications
View the documentUNHCR Telecommunications Network Field Preparations
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes
close this folder22. Coping with Stress
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentIdentifying Stress Symptoms
View the documentTechniques for dealing with Stress
View the documentKey References
close this folder23. Staff Safety
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe UN Security System
View the documentEssential Plans
View the documentSecurity
View the documentSecurity Management
View the documentKey References
close this folder24. Working with the Military
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentCategories of Military Forces
View the documentPossible Roles of Military Forces in Humanitarian Operations
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

Security

23. Keys to effective security are:

i. First and foremost, personal awareness on the individual level;

ii. Appropriate behaviour to diminish the risk of security incidents;

iii. Appropriate response by the individual to security incidents.

Personal Security

24. For personal security, bear in mind the following:

Be aware of and alert to your surroundings;

Observe the behaviour of other people living in the area. Local people will probably know more about general security threats than you do;

Don't travel alone;

Don't carry large amounts of money;

Don't travel after dark if it can be avoided. Most security incidents occur after dark;

When leaving base, make sure someone knows where you are going and when you are expected back;

Lock vehicle doors and keep the windows rolled up when travelling;

Park vehicles to allow for fast exit;

Don't take photographs around military personnel or military installations;

Have cash, documents, and an emergency bag packed and ready to go at all times;

Always be polite: be aware that your behaviour to local officials, police or military can rebound negatively on other staff.

Residential Security

25. Several steps can be taken to improve residential security:

Make sure there are good solid doors. Never have glass doors on the exterior;

Install a peep hole, a safety chain and a security bar;

Keep the entrance door locked at all times, even when at home;

Install bars and grills, at least on the ground floor;

All windows should have locks;

Draw curtains at night;

Install outside lighting;

Have emergency power sources, candles and torches;

Keep a watchdog or other animals like goats, geese or peacocks;

Install a telephone or walkie-talkie.

Depending on the circumstances and if authorized by UNSECOORD from the UN system, UNHCR can cover the costs of some of the improvements listed.

Base Security

26. Base security should be improved by:

Hiring guards:

The host country authorities sometimes provide guards. Guards hired by UNHCR are not permitted to carry lethal weapons while on duty. Guards should be trained and briefed, and should wear a uniform or some identifying garment;

Ensuring there are lights:

Lights should be powerful and should light up an area outside the perimeter fence, providing a barrier of illumination in which intruders can be detected.

Installing fences and controlling access:

Double fences with razor wires form an effective barrier. There should be more than one entrance/exit. Sensitive locations (for example, the accommodation area, communications room, generators and fuel store) may need to be surrounded by a barrier of sandbags. Procedures to control access to the compound need to be established. The fenced compound should be self-contained and equipment (e.g. spare tires, jacks, fire extinguisher, first aid kits, generators, water pumps), should be checked and maintained on a routine basis.

Field Security

27. Several steps should be taken by relevant staff and heads of office to improve field security:

Develop a movement control plan (see above);

When planning to travel, check the latest security situation with the DO, others who have been there, host country officials other UN agencies, NGOs, traders;

Get all required authorizations, from the DO and host country authorities;

Ensure that all staff know what to do in case of accident or breakdown - simple procedures should be established;

Ensure that vehicles are properly equipped with extra food and water, sleeping bags, mosquito nets, tents, water filters, fuel, tow rope, jumper cables, spare tire, tire jack, flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, travel documents, radio, vehicle insurance papers, shovel and maps;

Ensure that vehicles are in good mechanical condition and are checked regularly. Certain items, such as brakes, tire wear, fluid levels, lights, installed radios, should always be checked prior to every field trip;

Ensure that all staff know what to do at checkpoints - establish procedures for staff to follow. It is against UN policy to allow anyone carrying arms in UN vehicles.

Cash Security

28. Ideally staff members should not carry large sums of money in cash. If there is a functioning banking system in the area, then this should be used to the maximum extent possible.

29. If it is necessary to transport cash then arrangements should be made with the host country authorities for protection of the funds. Cash in large amounts should be kept on hand for the shortest possible time, and should either be deposited in a bank or be disbursed quickly to pay salaries or meet other legitimate expenditure. Advance payments could be considered to reduce amounts of cash being stored (provided financial rules are adhered to).

30. Measures which can contribute to security while transporting cash include making use of:

i. Professional couriers;

ii. Armoured vehicles;

iii. Armed guards;

iv. Deception. There should be no regularity in the arrangements: The timing, route, and other details should change every time;

v. Discretion.

The number of people knowing about the movement of cash, the identity of persons carrying cash, their routes and timetables, should be kept to the barest minimum necessary.

Crowd Control and Security

31. If crowds cannot be avoided:

Ensure that clear information is provided to the crowd, so that they know what is going on and what to expect;

Work with representatives of the people to organize the crowd into small groups and get them to sit down;

Do not engage in unruly group discussions;

When discussing grievances, meet with a small number of representatives of the crowd, never with the mass meeting;

Provide sanitary facilities, water, shade and shelter;

For crowd control, use monitors from among the people themselves;

If confronted by a crowd when in a vehicle, do not get out. Check that the doors are locked and drive away carefully;

Maintain poise and dignity if confronted by a hostile crowd, do not show anger.

Mine Awareness

32. In countries with high risk of mines, all offices should ensure there is appropriate training and reference materials (see references) -the information contained here is not sufficient, but provides only broad guidance.

33. It is extremely difficult to spot a mined area, so the first priority is to ensure you have up to date information about possible mined areas from local residents and de-mining organizations. Travel with a map marked with this information and update it by checking with local residents.

34. Be aware of the following:

Signs: learn which signs indicate known mined areas (whether local signs, UN or other signs);

No-go areas: avoid areas which are avoided by the local population;

Visible mines or indicators: some mines are visible. There may also be evidence of mine packaging;

Disruption in the local environment: for example disturbed soil if recently laid, and depressions in the ground in an old mine field;

Trip wires;

Mine damage (e.g. dead animals) which could indicate the presence of other mines.

35. When driving, the following precautions should betaken:

Wherever possible stay on hard surfaced roads.

Always follow in the fresh tracks of another vehicle, at least 50 m behind the vehicle in front.

Flak jackets can be used as a seat cushion and as a foot protection.

Wear the seat-belts, and keep windows rolled down and doors unlocked.

36. If you encounter a mine:

Keep away, do not touch it;

Do not try to detonate it by throwing stones at it;

Stop the vehicle immediately;

Stay in the vehicle, even if it is damaged and call for assistance.

37. If you have to leave the vehicle:

Notify your location by radio;

Do not move the steering wheel;

Put on any protective gear available;

Climb over the seats and leave the vehicle by the rear, walk back along the vehicle tracks. Never walk around the vehicle;

Leave at least a 20 m gap between people;

Close the road to other traffic.

38. When travelling on foot:

Never walk through overgrown areas: stick to well used paths.

39. If there is a mine incident:

Do not immediately run to the casualty. Stop and assess the situation first. There may be other antipersonnel mines in the vicinity, and administering first aid to one victim could result in another victim;

Only one person should go to the casualty, walking in his exact footprints, to apply first aid;

Do not attempt to move the casualty unless absolutely necessary, call for mine-clearing and medical assistance.

40. Within the UN system, mine clearance and related issues are primarily the responsibility of DPKO. Chapter 19 on voluntary repatriation contains some information about programme aspects of mines.

Protection Equipment:

41. Typical equipment that has been used by UNHCR includes:

i. Bullet proof vests for protection against most bullets;

ii. Flak jackets for protection against shrapnel;

iii. Helmets for protection against shrapnel;

iv. Ballistic blankets fitted in vehicles, for protection against hand grenades and antipersonnel mines;

v. Armoured cars;

vi. Shatter resistant windows;

vii. Military combat rations for concentration points;

viii. Metal detectors for body searches.

42. These items can be ordered through the Supply and Transport Section in co-ordination with the relevant Bureau and Field Safety Section.