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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
Open this folder and view contents1. Aim and Principles of Response
Open this folder and view contents2. Protection
Open this folder and view contents3. Emergency Management
Open this folder and view contents4. Contingency Planning
Open this folder and view contents5. Initial Assessment, Immediate Response
Open this folder and view contents6. Operations Planning
Open this folder and view contents7. Coordination and Site Level Organization
Open this folder and view contents8. Implementing Arrangements
Open this folder and view contents9. External Relations
Open this folder and view contents10. Community Services and Education
Open this folder and view contents11. Population Estimation and Registration
Open this folder and view contents12. Site Selection, Planning and Shelter
Open this folder and view contents13. Commodity Distribution
Open this folder and view contents14. Health
Open this folder and view contents15. Food and Nutrition
Open this folder and view contents16. Water
Open this folder and view contents17. Environmental Sanitation
Open this folder and view contents18. Supplies and Transport
Open this folder and view contents19. Voluntary Repatriation
Open this folder and view contents20. Administration, Staffing and Finance
Open this folder and view contents21. Communications
Open this folder and view contents22. Coping with Stress
Open this folder and view contents23. Staff Safety
Open this folder and view contents24. Working with the Military
View the documentAppendix 1 - Catalogue of Emergency Response Resources
View the documentAppendix 2 - Toolbox
View the documentAppendix 3 - Memoranda
View the documentAppendix 4 - Glossary

Appendix 1 - Catalogue of Emergency Response Resources

Human resources

Staff support

Operations support items

Operations support services

Financial resources

Emergency training

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees March 1998-Rev. 6

Note: This catalogue is updated regularly, please consult the latest edition


The purpose of this catalogue is to provide information on the range of available emergency response resources and the means by which they can be requested. The need for such resources emanated from a strategy to enhance UNHCR's capacity to respond to emergencies which was instituted at the end of 1991. Many Sections in UNHCR have a key role in maintaining and developing these resources, which have already been extensively used in emergency situations. The need to introduce additional emergency response resources or adapt existing ones is constantly under review. The Catalogue is, therefore, updated on a regular basis so as to incorporate amendments and additional resources.

It should be emphasized that the resources listed in this catalogue are intended for emergency response only. Given the need to ensure a minimum capacity and maintain a high level of readiness it is not usually possible to use them for ongoing operations for which response to needs should be planned.

The Emergency Preparedness and Response Section, UNHCR, welcomes feedback on the effectiveness of the resources as well as suggestions for additions.


March 1998

While this catalogue may be of interest for information purposes to persons and agencies external to UNHCR, it is intended for use by UNHCR staff for emergency response.

The catalogue may be obtained by direct request to:

Emergency Preparedness and Response Section, UNHCR Headquarters (EM00), P.O. Box 2500, CH-1211 Geneva Depot 2, Switzerland, Fax: (++41-22) 7397301, E-mail:

human resources

Emergency Preparedness and Response Officers (EPRO)

Senior Emergency Administrator (SEA)

Emergency Finance and Administrative Assistants (EFAA)

Emergency Response Team Roster

Field Staff Safety Section (FSS)

Norwegian and Danish Refugee Council Emergency Staff

United Nations Volunteers

Arrangement with Specialist Agency - Red R (Australia)

Arrangement with Specialist Agency - Radda Barnen (Sweden)

Arrangement with Specialist Agency - SRSA (Sweden)

Arrangement with Specialist Agency - CDC (USA)

Technical Consultants

staff support

Staff and Office Accommodation

Personal Travel Kits

Field Kits

Office Kits

Emergency Kit for Unaccompanied Children

Computer Equipment


Telecommunications Equipment

Visibility Material

Emergency Operations Room

operations support items


Emergency Health Kit


Kitchen Sets

Jerry Cans

Plastic Sheeting

Prefabricated Warehouses

operations support services

Government Service Packages

Emergency Capacities of Non Governmental Organizations (database)

Standby Arrangement for Trucks and Aircraft (EMERCOM of Russia)

operations management tools

Contingency Planning: a practical guide for field staff

Refugee Registration Package

Handbook for Emergencies

Checklist for the Emergency Administrator

Commodity Distribution

financial resources

UNHCR Emergency Fund

UNOCHA Central Emergency Revolving Fund (CERF)

Distance Learning Modules

Emergency Management Training Programme (EMTP)

Workshop on Emergency Management (WEM/ERT)

Targeted Training

Emergency Preparedness and Response Officers (EPRO)

The Emergency Preparedness and Response Section (EPRS) is staffed with five Emergency Preparedness and Response Officers who are on standby for emergency response. In the event of an emergency where the UNHCR Branch Office lacks adequate resources to respond or where UNHCR has no prior presence, the EPRO can be deployed at very short notice to lead an emergency team or existing staff in the establishment and/or strengthening of UNHCR's presence. An EPRO may also be deployed to lead a needs assessment mission which will make recommendations relating to the deployment of other emergency resources.

The EPRO reports directly to the UNHCR Representative or, where there is no existing office, to the Regional Bureau at Headquarters. Prior to each deployment, the EPRO's terms of reference will be established by the Bureau. The duration of deployment will depend on the nature of the operation, but should be limited to the critical emergency phase during which the basic structures and direction of the operation will be put in place. In general this period is not expected to exceed two months. An EPRO cannot be deployed to fill management or staffing gaps in existing operations.

In addition to operational deployment, EPROs are responsible for emergency preparedness activities, including:

- monitoring regional developments

- assisting in the contingency planning process

- developing management tools to enhance effective emergency response

- participating in the review of procedures to improve emergency response

- identifying emergency training needs on the basis of deployment experiences

- serving as resource persons for emergency management trainings.

To ensure adequate regional coverage in preparedness activities, each EPRO is assigned responsibility for a specific geographical area. However, where operational deployment is concerned, maximum flexibility will be maintained.

How to request

The deployment of an EPRO is normally accompanied by the deployment of other emergency resources in order to mount an effective response to an emergency situation. Should a comprehensive response package be required, a request from the Director of the Bureau should be addressed to the Director of DOS.

After clearance at the Director level, the Head of Desk should advise the Chief of EPRS (preferably in writing) the destination, proposed duration, terms of reference, language requirements as well as any other specific skills required for the assignment. EPROs may in principle be deployed with 72 hours notice. Should an EPRO not be available, an experienced ERT member (see section IV) may be deployed instead.

The mission costs of the EPRO will be charged to the respective country programme.

Senior Emergency Administrator (SEA)

One Senior Emergency Administrator (SEA) is based in EPRS on a standby capacity. This staff member has experience and training in all aspects of administration (human resources, finance and general administration), as well as proven managerial skills and experience. When not deployed on emergencies SEAs may be assigned to non-emergency situations where the need for skilled administrative capacity is deemed by the concerned technical/functional section in Headquarters (e.g. DFIS, PCS, SSS etc.) to be critical. In such cases deployment will range from short assessment and advisory missions to assignments lasting a maximum of three months.

A brief description of possible functions follows:

- identify and administer office premises

- establish and improve office procedures

- plan staffing needs, recruit and administer staff

- oversee finance and banking procedures

- ensure proper procedures for communications

- oversee transport arrangements

- oversee security plans

- ensure adequate staff support and staff training

- supervise phase out of emergency team and hand-over.

The SEA will supervise administrative staff, both international and local, and relieve the operations manager of administrative concerns. It should be noted that this is a senior management position and deployment will be to major emergency complex operations. Alternatively the SEA may be called upon to cover numerous field offices on a "roving" basis.

Emergency Finance and Administrative Assistants (EFAA)

Two Emergency Finance and Administrative Assistants (EFAAs) are based in EPRS on a standby capacity. These staff members have experience and training in all practical aspects of administration (human resources, finance and general administration). Particular attention has been paid to thorough financial and accounting skills. During an emergency deployment, the EFAA's main objective is to set up proper administrative procedures and also to train locally recruited staff in UNHCR practices and procedures so that they may work independently upon the departure of the Emergency Response Team. When not deployed in emergencies EFAAs may be assigned to non-emergency situations where the need for skilled administrative capacity is deemed by the concerned technical/functional section in Headquarters (e.g. DFIS, PCS, SSS etc.) to be critical. EFAAs have also been trained as Programme Assistants and can act in this capacity in an Emergency Response Team. Assignment lengths for all deployments will be up to three months.

A brief description of possible functions follows:

- identify banking facilities and make banking arrangements

- establish field office accounts; prepare and monitor administrative budgets

- establish control measures (vehicle & telephone logs, inventories, travel authorizations etc.) for all expenditure

- handle all personnel programme management and administration matters

- recruit and/or train local staff in finance and personnel administration

The EFAA may be assigned as part of an emergency response team, reporting either to an EPRO, SEA, BO Administrative Officer or Head of Sub Office. The EFAA may supervise local administrative staff.

How to request

A written request from the Head of Desk, cleared with the Bureau Director, should be addressed to the Chief of EPRS, stating the destination, proposed duration, terms of reference, language requirements and any other specific skills required for the assignment. Deployment decisions will be made in consultation with the concerned technical sections. An SEA or EFAAs may in principle be deployed within 72-hours notice.

Requests for deployment in non emergency situations may be entertained as long as the assignment is not simply to fill a management gap. It should be understood, however, that these assignments are time-limited, and require clear terms of reference. An SEA or EFAAs may also be withdrawn in case of an emergency. The mission costs of an SEA or EFAAs will be charged to the respective country programme.

Emergency Response Team (ERT) Roster

The Emergency Response Team (ERT) Roster comprises a pool of some 30 internal staff members, drawn from various duty-stations and sections in Headquarters, who are on standby for emergency deployment. While ERT Roster members may be proficient in specific functional areas of UNHCR operations (protection, programme etc.) they are expected to function with as much versatility and flexibility as possible in order to cope with the demands of emergency situations. The roster is reviewed twice a year (January and July) with new rosters commencing at the beginning of April and October. The inclusion of staff members on the ERT Roster is cleared in advance with supervisors. Staff not deployed during one six month period may, with the agreement of the staff member and their supervisor, be included in the following roster. At the beginning of their term on the roster, staff members attend the Workshop on Emergency Management (WEM/ERT) [see section on Emergency Training] where they are prepared for deployment as members of an ERT.

Members of the ERT Roster can only be deployed to meet the critical needs of an emergency or a repatriation operation when existing resources are unable to cope or where UNHCR has no prior presence. While ERT Roster members are normally deployed with an EPRO, they may exceptionally be deployed to complement existing staff or to act as Team Leader depending on the nature of the emergency and on EPRS' resources at a given time. ERT Roster members are on standby for emergency deployment for a fixed period of six months during which they may be deployed for a maximum of two months. No extension of an ERT Roster member's deployment can be envisaged, as this could have adverse repercussions on the releasing office.

UNHCR staff who wish to be considered for inclusion on the ERT Roster should write to the Chief of EPRS through the Head of their Section/Branch/Field Office. Such communications should be copied to the Bureau Administrative Officer. Lastly, staff members already deployed in emergency duty stations are usually not considered for inclusion in the ERT.

How to request

Once emergency response has been approved at the Director level the overall staffing needs for the specific situation should be discussed between the Desk, DRM and EPRS, on the basis of which, the source of these staff will be determined. If ERT Roster members are required, EPRS will activate their deployment. As with all staff resources, clear terms of reference, duty station, anticipated duration of assignment and special skill requirements need to be specified from the outset by the Desk. Furthermore, it is important for the Desk, EPRS and DRM to work out a plan for the withdrawal of the ERT Roster members from the emergency deployment, and frequent joint meetings until the replacement arrangements are firm.

The mission costs of ERT Roster members will be charged to the respective country programme.

Field Staff Safety Section (FSS)

The Field Staff Safety Section comprises three Field Staff Safety Advisors (FSSAs) who are based in Geneva. Although the main occupation of those based in Geneva is the carrying out of regular security assessment missions, they also provide support to the field on request. They are also engaged in the formulation of policy, the training of UNHCR deployed staff members, and recruitment/deployment of FSSAs to hazardous areas around the world.

FSS can be requested to provide security assessments and to temporarily deploy FSSAs on missions to emergencies. An FSSA may be available to be deployed either from Geneva, or a temporary redeployment from another duty station, depending on the security situation in the various regions at the time of the request.

FSSAs can be requested to provide assessments on physical security of residences and offices, prepare and provide comments on various security plans (communications, movement control, evacuation, medevac, etc.), establish liaison with host country security authorities for the safety of staff members, provide security training for staff members, etc. Depending on the desires of the Head of Office, these services can also be made available to other UN organizations and NGO partners.

How to request

A written request should be addressed to the Head of Desk and copied to FSS, stating destination and proposed duration of mission, language requirements and other specific skills required.

The mission costs normally will be charged to the respective country programme.

Norwegian and Danish Refugee Council Emergency Staff

To complement internal staff resources for emergencies, a standby arrangement has been established with the Danish and Norwegian Refugee Councils. Under this arrangement, Nordic staff who have been pre-identified, screened and trained can be deployed within 72-hours notice to UNHCR operations anywhere in the world. Nordic staff are issued UN certificates and participate in operations as UNHCR staff members. Although, in principle, this arrangement can provide for any profiles normally needed in a UNHCR operation, it has been found to be particularly effective in the deployment of telecommunication experts, base camp managers, logistics and field officers. With prior training, Nordic staff have also been found to be effective protection officers.

As an emergency resource, Nordic staff can only be deployed a maximum of six months. Since the secondees are normally on leave of absence from their normal jobs, it is important that no extension beyond this period be requested. It must be emphasized that, although the maintenance of the standby roster is provided free of charge to UNHCR, all costs related to the deployment of staff will be charged to the relevant programme. Nordic staff will only be deployed if it has been established that urgent staffing requirements cannot be met from internal sources.

How to request

A request form (available from EPRS) for DRC/NRC deployment should be completed by the requesting Desk and submitted to EPRS describing briefly:

- the emergency situation;

- details of staff requirements (number of staff required, functional title(s), duty station, date of deployment, duration, language, if briefing in Geneva is necessary, supervision arrangements in the field);

- information on living conditions at the duty station.

EPRS will act as contact with the Councils and liaison with the Desk (specifically on operational requirements, budget submission, preparation of letter of mutual intent and sub-agreements) from the requesting period up to repatriation travel of the secondees. The terms and conditions of deployment are governed by the Agreement between UNHCR and DRC/NRC. The Desk and Field should avoid subsequent independent negotiations with the DRC/NRC staff. Checklists providing more detail of the procedures to be followed are available upon request from EPRS.

United Nations Volunteers (UNV)

A similar arrangement as that with the Nordic Councils has also been established with UNV/HRLO (Humanitarian Relief and Liaison Office). The parameters defining UNV deployment are stipulated in the Exchange of Letters signed between UNHCR and UNV in November 1992. Under this arrangement, UNVs can be deployed to UNHCR emergency operations within one week, instead of in several months as under normal UNV procedures. UNV recruitment is done with the participation of UNHCR representatives/or designated officers in the field. This complements the Nordic arrangement in that it offers a wider mix of nationalities as well as more language capabilities.

UNVs are deployed on a short term basis instead of the traditional two-year UNV assignment. Thus they can be deployed to meet urgent emergency staffing needs for a three to twelve month period. Where a longer period is foreseen (for example 6-12 months), it is desirable to request this from the outsetinstead of a shorter period with extensions - since this allows for better planning. From experience, UNVs are needed in emergencies for a minimum of three to six months. If necessary they can also be called upon to meet staffing gaps in the transition from an emergency team to the assignment of long-term staff. UNVs deployed under this arrangement can only be considered for staff recruitment by UNHCR after they have served a minimum of twelve months as UNVs. The costs of these deployments will be charged to the relevant programme.

How to request

For emergency deployment, EPRS will liaise with the Humanitarian Relief Liaison Office of UNV in Geneva, to ensure that UNVs are identified, selected and deployed according to the requirements of the emergency operation.

The Desk will be required to complete a UNV Post Description form (available from EPRS) indicating project information, post description and conditions, and living conditions at the duty station. This is submitted with a covering letter, from the Desk directly to the Chief of UNV/HRLO, with a copy to EPRS specifying availability of funds and indicating the project to be charged. A checklist providing detailed procedures of UNV deployment is available from EPRS.

Arrangement with Specialist Agency - Red R (Australia)

A Memorandum of Understanding has been concluded with Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief (Red R) Australia, through which Red R (Australia) will provide, on short notice, qualified and experienced engineers to join emergency response teams or be assigned separately to emergencies for periods up to three months. Red R maintains a roster of experts in physical planning, water, sanitation and road construction. The costs of maintaining the roster as well as for the deployment of 20 engineers for three months each year are provided through a grant from the Government of Australia. All engineers on the roster undertake training through distance learning and attend short group sessions to prepare them for UNHCR emergency deployments.

How to request

Once it has been agreed that engineering specialists are required in an emergency operation, a request should be submitted to the Head of Desk and EESS, with a copy to EPRS. EESS is the focal point for contacts between Red R (Australia) and UNHCR and will inform Red R of the Terms of Reference as well as all other details relating to the mission.

Arrangement with Specialist Agency - Radda Barnen (Sweden)

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with Radda Barnen Sweden which permits the deployment of trained social workers to refugee emergency situations with 72 hours notice in order to take part in UNHCR needs assessment missions and in the initial establishment of community-based social services. The terms of reference of the community services co-ordinators would have a three-phased approach:

1) assessment, action plan and guidelines;

2) foundation of community services structures;

3) building up of community services.

Radda Barnen will maintain a roster of 20 experienced and trained people, six of whom may be made available at any time. Radda Barnen staff will be seconded to UNHCR for a period that will not normally exceed three months.

Staff seconded by Radda Barnen are deployed as members of the UNHCR team and report to the UNHCR designated officer in charge of the operation. Radda Barnen staff are funded by Radda Barnen and compensated in accordance with its personnel regulations.

How to request

Once it has been agreed that the inclusion of community services should be considered as part of the emergency response, a request for Radda Barnen deployment should be completed by the Head of Desk, and addressed to the Chief of EESS, with a copy to EPRS, describing the emergency situation, details of staff requirements, proposed duration, date of deployment, language requirements, if briefing in Geneva is necessary, supervision arrangements in the field and information on living conditions at the duty station.

Swedish Rescue Services Agency

In the most extreme field conditions, where an operation has to be established in an environment where almost all infrastructural support would need to be brought in from the outside, the Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA) is on standby for deployment to provide a comprehensive range of staff support. SRSA can be deployed, with 72-hours notice, with equipment and a team of staff to establish office and housing facilities, sanitation, water, electricity, telecommunications, transport and nursing services, for UNHCR staff. On the basis of deployment experience, SRSA has repackaged its staff support services in order to be able to meet needs under different climatic conditions, as well as when only a part of its services are required.

It has been agreed that the involvement of the SRSA should be limited to a period of four to six weeks, which should provide UNHCR sufficient time to establish longer-term support facilities. Should it be necessary, a base-camp manager can be deployed to maintain the facilities established by the SRSA until such time as local arrangements can be found for the longer term. The decision to deploy the SRSA support team should only be made after a field assessment which might include a SRSA representative. While this standby facility has been provided to UNHCR free of charge, the actual cost of deployment will be charged to the relevant programme.

Where the UNHCR Staff and Office Accommodation package is used, the SRSA is able to provide a base camp manager familiar with the package to manage the facility during the initial stages of its use.

How to request

The deployment of the SRSA for staff support is normally a part of a comprehensive emergency response package and has to be approved by the HQ Task Force established to mount the emergency operation. On the basis of detailed information about the emergency situation and conditions in the field provided by the Desk, EPRS will formulate an official request to the Swedish Government in order to obtain Cabinet clearance for the deployment of the SRSA.

The Desk should ensure that budgetary provisions have been made and a project agreement between UNHCR and the SRSA should be prepared immediately after the budget has been submitted by the SRSA and agreed by UNHCR. Since deployment may occur prior to the finalization of the agreement, a letter of intent, prepared by the Desk, may be required in the first instance.

Arrangement with Specialist Agency - Centers for Disease Control (USA)

UNHCR maintains a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) which establishes specific areas of collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The specific areas covered under the terms of the MOU are: rapid health and nutrition assessment, improvement of epidemic preparedness and response, prevention and control of communicable diseases, training of local and international health staff, co-ordination of health care delivery services and nutrition programmes in emergencies, maternal and child health activities, sanitation, water supply and environmental health activities.

Within the standby arrangement CDC has identified a core group of experts who would be available at short notice to respond to technical assistance requests made by UNHCR for rapid health and nutrition assessments in emergency situations. Deployment of CDC staff would normally vary from four to eight weeks but could be extended to three months upon request.

Staff seconded by CDC are deployed as members of the UNHCR team and report to the UNHCR designated officer in charge of the operation. They will, however, be funded by CDC and compensated in accordance with PHS policy.

How to request

Once it has been agreed that CDC specialists are required in an emergency operation, HCDS will be the focal point for contacts and deployment requests to CDC. HCDS will inform CDC (and other relevant UNHCR sections) of the terms of reference as well as all other details relating to the mission.

Technical Consultants

The engineering and environmental services section EESS maintains a roster of some 500 individual consultants and consultancy companies, covering the following disciplines:

- agriculture, fisheries and livestock

- community and social services

- development planning and project planning

- economics and finance

- education

- emergency planning

- energy

- health/nutrition

- income generating activities

- environmental sanitation

- site planning, shelter and other infrastructure

- social sciences

- transport and logistics

- water supply

Names are constantly being added to the roster which is updated every six months to ensure that all consultants continue to be available. A short list of some 10 persons experienced in each of the major sectors and prepared for immediate deployment is maintained as a sub-category of the roster for emergency response.

Consultants may be deployed as part of contingency planning or needs assessment missions, as well as part of Emergency Response Teams. In the response phase, they will often be called in on mission to provide the necessary technical input into programme development.

How to request

Once the need has been identified, requests for consultants will be detailed in a memorandum from the Desk and EESS to DRM through PCS. EESS will normally recommend one (or more) consultants which will need the approval of one or more members of the Consultancy Committee (made up of EESS staff). The submission will include the terms of reference, the timing of the assignment, estimated cost and proposed source of funds and the CV of the prospective consultant. Where consultancy firms are thought to be more appropriate for the task, the selection of suitable candidates or firms must be in accordance with UN Financial rules.

Staff and Office Accommodation

A major difficulty encountered in recent emergency situations has been that of providing staff with acceptable living and office accommodation in areas where there is little or no infrastructure. To this end, a standard "staff and office accommodation" package has been elaborated which will provide acceptable living and working conditions for a maximum period of one year for UNHCR staff assigned to extreme hardship duty stations. One package can provide living accommodation for a maximum of 25 people and office space for approximately 40; it has been designed on a modular concept thus enabling deployment of selected elements when needed. Each package comprises:

- 25 individual fully furnished accommodation modules

- 5 four-person fully furnished local staff/visitors sleeper modules

- 10 ablution modules

- 1 laundry module

- 1 kitchen module

- 1 dining/recreation module

- 1 water system module

- 8 office modules

- 1 meeting room module

as well as furnishings; equipment; electrical systems; interior plumbing distribution; ablution fixtures (flush toilets only); camp water distribution; water purification and internal camp sewerage distribution; fire extinguishers for sleepers, kitchen, dining room and meeting hall; security fencing; compound lighting; electrical power supply; fuel storage; fire extinguishers and incinerator.

Two complete staff/office accommodation packages are stockpiled in Amsterdam. The cost of deployment of a complete package amounts to approximately $ 900,000. Upon request STS or EPRS will provide detailed costings of individual elements of the package.

How to request

1. Requests for the release of items from the Central Emergency Stockpile (CES) should be made by the Bureau through the CES Focal Point in STS and confirmed in writing, preferably by e-mail. After reviewing the request, STS will initiate form SF(1) which will be forwarded to the Certifying Officer (Head of Desk or other authorized signatory). The transfer of appropriate funds to the Emergency Stockpile project will be authorized by the Certifying Officer with availability of funds being confirmed by the FPCS.

2. The Field Office should provide detailed information on living conditions in the country concerned as well as the number of staff members for whom the accommodation is required. In addition, the Supplier will require detailed information relating to local conditions such as site ground conditions, grading and excavation conditions, distance to local services, availability and cost of local skilled labour; security services; construction materials; vehicles and site material handling equipment; electrical power, water supply, gasoline and diesel fuel.

3. Responsibility for the erection of the accommodation will rest with the Supplier. UNHCR will facilitate the work of the Supplier and will assist in obtaining visas, permits etc. To facilitate coordination, a copy of the contract with the Supplier, which spells out respective obligations will be provided to each requesting office.

Personal Travel Kits

The travel kit is a carry bag with a UNHCR logo, which is small enough to comply with airline cabin baggage size requirements. It includes a sleeping bag, pillow, mosquito net, towel, torch, small medical kit, rain poncho, plate/bowl, sun hat, water bottle and water filter. It weighs 8 kg and its value is US$ 360.

Travel kits will be provided to emergency response staff deployed to difficult locations during the very early phase of an operation where staff support arrangements have not yet been put in place. It can also be provided to field staff who are required to travel frequently to locations in the "deep" field where living conditions are unpredictable. Any staff member provided with a travel kit will not be entitled to another kit on any subsequent assignment. Once the emergency operation is under way, living conditions should improve, and at this stage the office should advise Headquarters that travel kits are no longer required by new staff. In some instances a number of travel kits may be sent in advance to a new office and allocated to staff in the field.

How to request

Personal travel kits are released on the basis of information from the field on living conditions. The Desk or PCS should submit a request to EPRS by e-mail (HQEM00). Upon approval, EPRS will forward an Emergency Stockpile Release Form (ESF1) to the Certifying Officer (Head of Desk or other authorized signatory). The transfer of appropriate funds to the Central Emergency Stockpile project will be authorized by the Certifying Officer with availability of such funds being confirmed by DFIS.

Field Kits

Field kits can be provided for deployment to difficult locations. These have a comprehensive range of survival items for improving field conditions. The kit is intended to provide staff with total self sufficiency for three days. A stock of up to 100 kits is held by BSU at Headquarters and replenished up to the maximum level when stocks fall below 50 units.

The contents of the kit come in an aluminium waterproof trunk, weighing 50 kg with a value of US$1,360. It includes:

- Dome shaped tent; Sleeping kit (sleeping bag, camp bed, mosquito net, pillow, ground mattress

- Shower screen and water bag with shower attachment

- 3 dry food ration packs

- Water bottle, cooking pots, dishes and cutlery, plastic food containers

- Torch, candles, matches, fuel tablets

- Purification tablets and water filter

- First aid kit, sun screen and insect repellent

- Swiss army knife and compass

- Small back-pack and money pouch

- Rubber gloves, elastic bands, aluminium foil

- First aid manual

- Hand soap, bath towel, tissues, toilet paper, mirror, sewing kit

- Writing materials

- Plastic poncho, sun hat

- Tool kit, metal chain, padlock, nylon rope, scotch tape, masking tape

How to request

Field kits are released on the basis of information from the field on living conditions. The Desk or PCS should submit a request to EPRS by e-mail (HQEM00). Upon approval, EPRS will forward an Emergency Stockpile Release Form (ESF1) to the Certifying Officer (Head of Desk or other authorized signatory). The transfer of appropriate funds to the Central Emergency Stockpile project will be authorized by the Certifying Officer with availability of such funds being confirmed by DFIS.

Office Kits

The Office Kit comprises items of stationery, supplies, forms and some small non-expendable office items, which are packed in 2 cardboard boxes, and which together weigh 120 kg. It is valued at US$ 1,200. Its contents include:

- UNOG stationery catalogue

- UNHCR Manual, Checklist for the Emergency Administrator

- Stapler, scissors, staple remover, hole punch, pencil sharpener, adhesive tape, staples, elastic bands, paper clips, pins

- Pencils, ball point pens, felt tip pens, rulers, correction fluid

- Stamp pad, date stamp, UNHCR Seal

- Desk diary, chron register

- Car pennants, key tags

- Shorthand pads, A4 note pads, note books

- Carbon paper

- Portable manual typewriter

- Desk calculator with printer tape

- Files, file folders

- Computer diskettes

- UNHCR Forms:

· sickness insurance

· leave application

· sick leave report

· properly survey board report

· vehicle accident report

· travel claims

· travel authorization

· inventory form

· personal history form

· leave & absence report

· entry medical exam form

· stationery order form

· project cards

- Envelopes (various sizes)

- Letterhead, memorandum, plain & continuation page paper

- Compliment slip

- Telegram Forms

The Office Kit is intended as a start up for new offices, and is designed for offices with 5 international and 10 local staff (i.e. a standard Sub or Field office). Thus one kit per location should be sufficient, although in larger new offices 2 kits may be necessary. Thereafter procedures for the normal procurement of office supplies should be established.

How to request

The Desk or PCS should submit a request to EPRS by e-mail (HQEMOO). Upon approval, EPRS will forward an Emergency Stockpile Release Form (ESF1) to the Certifying Officer (Head of Desk or other authorized signatory). The transfer of appropriate funds to the Central Emergency Stockpile project will be authorized by the Certifying Officer with availability of such funds being confirmed by DFIS.

Emergency Kit for Unaccompanied Children

This kit was developed jointly by UNHCR and UNICEF and is intended to promote early identification, documentation, and reunification of unaccompanied children. The kit includes the Priority Action Handbook, Emergency Registration Books, basic supplies (such as cameras and film) and a kit container.

The Priority Action Handbook is intended as a practical tool for UNHCR and UNICEF staff who are first on the spot and responsible for launching emergency response programmes. The handbook offers a checklist of actions to be considered in any emergency, as well as examples of practical tools, coordination mechanisms, and programme models that have proven to be effective in previous emergencies. A computer diskette is included to facilitate quick reproduction and modification of generic forms, guides, and tools.

Emergency registration books are included to promote quick identification and documentation of separated children and to serve as a record of what happens to these children over time. Written in straightforward language (in French and English), the Registration Books are for use in any place and with any person who is responsible for caring for separated children. Helpful hints on how to care for infants and young children and on how to initiate phototracing are also included.

How to request

Ten kits are stockpiled by EPRS at Headquarters. These kits are available on request from the Senior Coordinator for Refugee Children and/or EPRS.

Computer Equipment

A stock of portable and desktop computer equipment, installed with standard UNHCR software, is maintained by ITTS. Unit value ranges between $ 2,000 and $ 3,000 for a computer, and between $ 500 and $1,500 for a printer. Please check the cost of equipment required with ITTS User Services.

Electrical plugs vary, so it would be prudent to determine the socket type at the destination and take an adequate supply of electrical adapters.

How to request

Requests for computers or printers should be made directly to ITTS, User Services or HQFOSUP with a copy to the Desk/Bureaux at HQ indicating the funding source (e.g. admin. or project code). Equipment will be taken from ITTS buffer stock and replenished from the funds indicated by the Desk/Requesting Officer. Please note that equipment cannot be released if funds have not been identified by the requesting office.


A stock of 20 vehicles is maintained for deployment to emergency operations - 15 left-hand drive and 5 right-hand drive in Amsterdam. In addition to these, additional requirements for emergencies can also be met through loans from regional stocks in various locations and through ex-stock procurement from manufacturers stockholder.

The model currently in stock is the Toyota Landcruiser MZJ 105RL-GCMRS which has the following specifications:

- Air Conditioner, power steering, radio AM/FM and cassettes, 2 speakers

- 4,200cc Diesel

- 5 speed floor shift

- 6 seater, lateral seats (4 people) back door swing out type

- Tyres: 7.50R-16-6 Radial Block

- Sub fuel tank, 50L

- Air cleaner cyclone with precleaner

- Speedometer Km/h

- High Altitude Compensator

- Engine Coolant LLC 50PCT

- Double Battery 12V

- Burglar alarm, spare part kits, tool kits, seat belts, etc.

Insurance and UNHCR number plates: STS is now able in certain circumstances to arrange third party insurance and UNHCR number plates pending completion of formalities with the authorities concerned so that UNHCR-owned vehicles can be immediately operational upon arrival in a country. However, this is not applicable to all countries.

How to request

Requests for the release of items from the Central Emergency Stockpile (CES) should be made by the Bureau through the CES Focal Point in STS and confirmed in writing, preferably by e-mail. After reviewing the request, STS will initiate form ESF1 which will be forwarded to the Certifying Officer (Head of Desk or other authorized signatory). The transfer of appropriate funds to the Central Emergency Stockpile project will be authorized by the Certifying Officer with availability of funds being confirmed by the DFIS.

Telecommunications Equipment

A stock of telecommunication equipment, adequate for establishing communication links for two emergency operations has been established. This equipment is intended to provide emergency staff with immediate communication links even from the most remote locations.

The stock, which will be replenished as it is deployed, consists of:

- 8 Pactors

- 80 Codans Base/MOB

- 100 VHF Base/MOB

- 300 VHF Handhelds

- 20 VHF Repeaters

- 14 VHF Packet



- 26 Natel D

- 10 Fax

How to request

Requests for the release of these items should be made in writing to the Telecoms Unit, RTO or HQTU01 and STS with a copy to the Desk/Bureaux at HQ after clearance with EPRS. Replacement costs will be charged to the relevant programme through the issuance of a Purchase Authorisation by the Desk.

Visibility Material

In any emergency operation it is important to consider the value of greater UNHCR visibility. There may be various reasons for enhanced conspicuousness, the most important of which are:

a) Security (in certain circumstances)

b) Protection (recognition by authorities and asylum seekers)

c) Public Relations (visibility in the media)

UNHCR holds a stockpile of items which could be used for the above purposes. They are listed below:

EPRS will provide, at no charge to a new emergency operation, a start up supply of up to 50 each, of caps, vests, armbands and T-shirts. EPRS will also provide up to 10 UNHCR flags which are available in two sizes:


150 cm × 225 cm


200 cm × 300 cm

Public Information Section will sell, at cost to the operation, any subsequent need for caps and T-shirts.

BSU will provide:


identification badges


UN flags:

Car 30 × 50

Convoy 75 × 100

Small 100 × 150

Medium 150 × 225

Large 200 × 300


UNHCR logo stickers for light vehicles


extra large logo stickers for trucks


rolls of scotch tape with UNHCR logo

How to request

Requests for these items should be made directly to the respective sections as appropriate (see above). For items purchased from PI Section an account code must be provided.

Emergency Operations Room

Based on problems experienced in managing past emergency operations at Headquarters, notably the bottleneck in information flow to and from Headquarters, it was agreed that an Emergency Operations Room (EOR) should be made available which would be used as a communications and information distribution centre during the initial stages of an operation. The EOR should be the focal point for:

a) the receipt of all communications related to a particular emergency and

b) the effective distribution of such communications within UNHCR and, when needed, to other agencies.

Thus, all incoming communications relating to the emergency would be routed directly to the EOR. The EOR should therefore facilitate the organization of a systematic flow of information which could subsequently be integrated into the ongoing operations of the relevant Bureau/Desk. It is expected that the EOR will become operational at the outset of the emergency operation and will remain at the disposal of the Bureau/Desk concerned for an estimated period of three months.

The EOR is equipped with:

- 2 work-stations (computer equipped)

- telephones, fax machine, e-mail, teleconferencing

- computer link to Telecommunications Unit pactor

- photocopier

- pigeon holes and filing cabinets

- clocks for two time zones

In addition, the EOR may be used as an airlift operation cell and staffed by personnel seconded from the defence establishments of Governments for the duration of an airlift.

How to request

At the beginning of an emergency operation the Bureau should submit a written request to EPRS asking for the use of the Room. The Emergency Operations Room will be assigned to the Bureau responsible for the emergency At the outset of the operation, ITTS will liaise with the Bureau concerning the installation of the required communications equipment, dedicated telephone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail address. Ideally these numbers should be redeployed from the Bureau so that when the operation is integrated into the ongoing operation they may be "repatriated" and continuity ensured.

The Bureau will take full responsibility for supplies (stationery, photocopy paper, etc.) and running costs (communications charges, staff costs) during the period it occupies the EOR. It is emphasized that the EOR will be at the disposal of a given Bureau for the initial stages of an emergency operation only, in principle, for a maximum period of three months. Thereafter it should be possible to integrate the emergency operation into the normal activities of the Desk.


Tents are not stockpiled. However a system is in place which allows for tents to be made available without delay when requested. UNHCR's standard family tent is a double fly centre pole tent (4x4 m) with 2 doors and 2 windows and is made of cotton canvas and provided with a ground sheet. The unit weight including poles and pegs is about 100 kg and the cost USD$ 200-220.

How to request

Requests for the release of items from the Central Emergency Stockpile (CES) should be made by the Bureau through the CES Focal Point in STS and confirmed in writing, preferably by e-mail. After reviewing the request, STS will initiate form SF(1) which will be forwarded to the Certifying Officer (Head of Desk or other authorized signatory). The transfer of appropriate funds to the Central Emergency Stockpile project will be authorized by the Certifying Officer with availability of funds being confirmed by the DFIS.

Emergency Health Kit

The kit is designed to meet the needs of a population with disrupted medical facilities in the second phase of a natural or other disaster, or a displaced population without medical facilities. Its contents are calculated to meet the needs of a population of 10,000 persons for three (3) months or for 30,000 persons for one (1) month.

THE BASIC UNIT: 10 identical boxes, each 41 kg.

Total: 410 kg = US$2194

To facilitate distribution to smaller health facilities on site, the quantities of drugs and medical supplies in the basic unit have been divided into ten identical units, each for 1,000 persons. The basic unit contains drugs, medical supplies and some essential equipment for primary health care workers with limited training. Simple treatment guidelines, based on symptoms, have been developed to help the training of personnel in the proper use of drugs.

THE SUPPLEMENTARY UNIT: 14 boxes (3 boxes of drugs, 5 boxes of infusions, 3 boxes of renewable supplies and 3 boxes of equipment).

Total: 420 kg = US$ 2752

The supplementary unit contains drugs and medical supplies for a population of 10,000 persons for three months and is to be used only by professional health workers or physicians. It does not contain any drugs and supplies from the basic units and can therefore only be used when these are available as well. A manual describing the standard treatment regimens for target diseases, is included in each unit.

How to request

The kits are in stock at supplier's warehouse in Amsterdam. Requests should be made by the Bureau through the Desk at HQ with a copy to STS indicating quantity of complete kit, markings needed, project to charge.

One complete Emergency Health Kit is a total of 24 boxes for a total weight of 830 kgs, volume 3.40 cbm, packed on two pallets. Total cost: US$ 4,947 without transport costs. Delivery is within 24/48 hours to the airport of departure. It must be emphasized that although the standard kit is convenient in the second phase of an emergency, specific local requirements need to be assessed as soon as possible and further supplies must be ordered accordingly. STS has signed for a period of one year (1.9.97 to 31.8.98 renewable) a frame agreement for the list of UNHCR Essential Drugs. A request for a reasonable quantity of items listed could be quickly delivered. Please contact STS before ordering.


150,000 blankets of various qualities (wool ranging from minimum 30% or minimum 50% are stockpiled with suppliers in Europe). Additional stocks are available from regional stockpiles.

Blankets are packed in bales of 30 pieces weighing about 48 kg depending on the quality of blanket. The cost of each blanket ranges from US$ 4.50 to US $5.00 depending on the quality.

How to request

Requests for the release of items from the Central Emergency Stockpile (CES) should be made by the Bureau through the CES Focal Point in STS and confirmed in writing, preferably by e-mail. After reviewing the request, STS will initiate form SF(1) which will be forwarded to the Certifying Officer (Head of Desk or other authorized signatory). The transfer of appropriate funds to the Central Emergency Stockpile project will be authorized by the Certifying Officer with availability of funds being confirmed by the DFIS.

Kitchen Sets

30,000 Kitchen Sets are maintained by suppliers in Egypt. There are three types of set:

Type A

Type B

Type C

1×7 litre cooking pot

Same as Type A

1x7 litre cooking pot

1×5 litre cooking pot

but does not

5 aluminium bowls

5 aluminium bowls

include knives,

5 cups

5 deep aluminium plates

forks and bucket.

5 spoons

5 cups

The cost is thus

5 knives, forks, spoons


1 kitchen knife

1×15 litre steel bucket

Cost US$21.10

Cost US$ 13.60

Cost US$ 10.20

Kitchen sets can be produced at a rate of 20-30 000 per week.

Jerry Cans

50,000 semi-collapsible plastic 10 litre jerry cans are maintained by a supplier in Amsterdam. Jerry cans are usually packed in cartons of 100 weighing about 42,5 kg. The cost per jerry can is US$ 1.55

Plastic Sheeting

66,000 sheets of plastic are stockpiled at various locations. The sheeting, procured by UNHCR is of woven high density polyethylene fibre, laminated with low density polyethylene on both sides with a reinforced rim and eyelets along the edges. The standard size is 4 × 5 meters. It is blue on one side and white on the other with the UNHCR logo on both sides. The cost per sheet is US$ 6.75. The same material is available in rolls of 4 × 50 m for USD$ 66.00 per roll.

Note: Kits are constantly being reviewed and updated. The items listed here for a given kit serve as a sample of the type of items available. Once reviewed extra items may he added to a given kit or other items removed as deemed necessary. The same review system also applies to the other standby arrangements listed here.

Prefabricated Warehouses

10 prefabricated warehouses are held with various suppliers and others are available from regional stockpiles.

The warehouse, once erected, is 24 metres long, 10 meters wide, 5.8 meters high at the apex and 3.35 meters high at the side. Each end has an opening allowing through access for heavy vehicles. The average capacity is 500 tons. The unit cost is approximately US$ 13,000 -15,000.

How to request

Requests for the release of items from the Central Emergency Stockpile (CES) should be made by the Bureau through the CES Focal Point in STS and confirmed in writing, preferably by e-mail. After reviewing the request, STS will initiate form SF(1) which will be forwarded to the Certifying Officer (Head of Desk or other authorized signatory). The transfer of appropriate funds to the Central Emergency Stockpile project will be authorized by the Certifying Officer with availability of funds being confirmed by the DFIS.

Government Service Packages

In a number of major emergencies, Government Service Packages (GSPs) of some form were used: Coalition forces in the Kurdish Operation, Sarajevo airlift in Former Yugoslavia and various governments in selected sectors for the Rwandese influx. It was during this last operation that the concept was recognised as an exceptional response to complex emergencies and Governments requested UNHCR to take note of the lessons learned and pursue the development of what then became known as GSPs.

The concept assumes that GSPs are:

- A last resort in exceptionally large emergencies

- Use of military or civil defence assets

- Do not replace the traditional response capacity of NGOs

- Applicable to selected sectors only, where government assets are necessary

- Normally beyond the capacity of usual funding arrangements and thus seen as extra-budgetary donations in kind

- Self contained in terms of mobilization and operation

- Limited in duration of deployment and thus rapidly replaced by more cost effective arrangements

UNHCR developed 20 GSPs:

Air Operations Cell

Borehole Drilling

Strategic Airlift

Water Treatment

Theatre Airlift

Water Distribution

Airport Ground Handling

Water Storage


Latrine Construction

Road Transport

Vector Control

Field Hospital

Solid Waste Management

Hydrological Survey

Waste Water Systems

Water Tanker Operation

Site Development

Surface Water

Road Construction

How to request

It will normally be clear at the Headquarters level that an emergency is of a magnitude that requires the mobilization of GSPs. The Desk will contact EPRS and request that the mobilization procedure commence. In coordination with UNOCHA, donor Governments will first be alerted and asked if they are willing to provide packages. Subsequently, as the requirements become more clear, implementation, sometimes commencing with a needs assessment mission, will begin. Any direct contact between UNHCR and the Missions will be handled by Donor Relations and Resource Service Mobilization in consultation with EPRS and in liaison with UNOCHA.

NOTE: Meanwhile UNOCHA established the Military and Civil Defence Unit (MCDU) which has expanded the list of GSPs (which are called Government Service Modules) and these are to be available for all agencies. They include the 20 GSPs listed above. The maintenance of GSPs will be the responsibility of UNHCR or the most appropriate lead agency, while coordination will rest with UNOCHA.

Emergency Capacities of Non Governmental Organisations

In recent years many of UNHCR's operational partners have taken steps to develop or enhance their emergency preparedness and response capacities. These are essential elements in complementing UNHCR's response to refugee emergencies, since traditionally, UNHCR relies on non governmental organizations to implement, on its behalf, activities in support of refugees. It is important that these resources are known and called upon when needed. In order to do this effectively, UNHCR has, since mid 1996, established a data base which captures the emergency capacity of important NGOs which work in refugee programmes. The database identifies standby capacities in the following sectors and holds data on agency policy, financial resources for emergencies, human resources stand-by capacity and material stockpiles.

Community Services


Domestic needs


Economic activities



Site Planning and Civil Works

Environmental sanitation




On the basis of this data base, UNHCR is able to immediately determine the capacities of NGOs and call on them to cooperate with UNHCR in emergency response for refugee programmes.

How to request

In emergencies, Field Offices or Emergency Response Teams may advise Headquarters of operational needs to be filled by NGOs. The data base will provide options. Where there is no ERT and country operations have particular gaps or needs, the Office of the NGO Coordinator should be contacted and given details for follow-up.

Standby Arrangement for Trucks and Aircraft (EMERCOM of Russia)

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed with EMERCOM of Russia (State Committee of the Russian Federation for Civil Defence, Emergencies and the Elimination of the Consequences of Natural Disasters) UNHCR is provided with priority access to airlift capacity and a trucking fleet maintained by EMERCOM on a standby basis. These standby capacities include the following:

- Two airfreighters IL-76 TD with a payload of 40 tonnes and cargo hull dimensions of 20 × 3.4 × 3.4 metres.

- At least 15×10 metric tonne (6 × 6 or 6 × 4) trucks (Kamaz type) accompanied by fuel tanker, mobile workshop, escort vehicles and personnel (drivers and coordinators) to man the fleet during the initial emergency phase and until such time as local capacities can be trained to take over the operation of the fleet.

The resources can be deployed within 72 hours of receipt of a written request from UNHCR. The maintenance of these capacities on a standby basis is provided at no cost to UNHCR, but the cost of deployment is charged to the relevant programme.

How to request

The Desk should consult with EPRS and STS on the appropriateness of the EMERCOM capacities for the specific needs of the operation. Once its deployment is agreed, EPRS will be the focal point for contact between EMERCOM and UNHCR. UNHCR will advise EMERCOM in writing (copied simultaneously to the Government of the Russian Federation through the mission in Geneva) of the type of the emergency operation, location, duration, type and quantity of EMERCOM services, equipment and personnel as well as the technical specifications of any special equipment required. At the time of deployment a "Sub-Agreement" will be signed between EMERCOM and the relevant Regional Bureau which incorporates the actual services to be rendered by EMERCOM and the costs to be borne by UNHCR.

Contingency Planning: A Practical Guide for Field Staff

The Contingency Planning Guidelines are designed to assist UNHCR field staff to plan for refugee related events at country level. These events may include a refugee influx, spontaneous unexpected repatriation, security problems in refugee camps, natural disasters affecting refugee camps, camp relocation etc. There are 4 sections and 6 Annexes in the Guidelines:

Section 1 - The Purpose: covers the "when" and "why" of contingency planning. It looks at the popular misconceptions surrounding this activity. It considers the relationship to early warning, operations planning and needs assessment and identifies indicators which will suggest when it is prudent to initiate the planning process.

Section 2 - The Process: covers the "how" of contingency planning emphasizing the importance of the process necessary to arrive at an effective plan. It describes an approach which is participatory and ongoing and suggests mechanisms which can be established in-country to update the plan and maintain the preparedness process.

Section 3 - The Partners: identifies, and considers the role of the various agencies in the planning process. It is a kind of a checklist to ensure that the appropriate actors are involved at the right stage.

Section 4 - The Plan: sets out a model format for a contingency plan. These Guidelines stress that the plan is simply a product of the process and as such is constantly changing and requiring update. Nevertheless the plan has an importance as a working tool and thus some guidance on the best approach to setting out the document is required.


A - UNHCR's Standby Resources

D - Example Contingency Plan

B - Early Warning Indicators

E - Overhead Transparencies

C - Questionnaire for Sector Planning

F - Additional Reading

How to request

Copies of the Guidelines may be requested directly from EPRS.

Refugee Registration Package

This package consists of three elements: a Practical Guide for Field Staff, a Registration Kit, and computer software.

The Guide covers UNHCR's registration strategy, and provides practical ideas and tips to staff undertaking refugee registration exercises. In its 110 pages, the Guide describes registration strategies, explains the phases of registration and explores the various registration scenarios. In doing so, it deals with such activities as the initial fixing of a population, identifying vulnerable groups, crowd control, equipment required, estimating populations, protecting data and verification. Maps of typical reception and registration areas are included as are examples of tokens, cards and forms. The Guidelines were field tested in 1993 and the first document published and distributed in May 1994.

The Registration Kit is designed for 30,000 refugees (10,000 families), and includes an appropriate supply of wristbands, fixing tokens, temporary cards, registration cards, control sheets/passenger manifests, registration forms, Guidelines, code sheets, hole punches for cards, UNHCR caps and marker pens. The Kit is valued at approximately US$ 11,000.

In conjunction with the standard UNHCR registration form, the Field Based Registration System (FBARS) has been developed and field-tested. Introduction to the software is supported through, inter alia, regional training activities. The software, specifically designed to handle large caseloads, is fully supported by UNHCR.

How to request

The Food and Statistical Unit of PCS at Headquarters manages the stocks of Guidelines and Kits. All requests should be made directly to PCS/FSU. The Software may be requested by contacting PCS or ITTS. Except in emergency situations, requests should be made well in advance stipulating the estimated number of persons to be registered. Budgetary allocation will need to be made for the supplies requested. Additional supplies required which are not in the kits, such as files, megaphones, arm bands, UNHCR stamps etc. should be budgeted for and requested separately by the Desk to BSU.

Handbook for Emergencies

The Handbook For Emergencies was first published in December 1982 and is available in English, French, Spanish and Russian. The Handbook is intended as a managers' guide to setting up emergency operations for large-scale influxes and provides advice in a non-technical manner on how to tackle various aspects of emergency response. Managers would need to seek further advise for more technical information.

The Handbook, which is in a convenient A5 format with 400 pages of text and diagrams, will be useful, not only for UNHCR staff, but also for government officials and NGO staff.

The chapter headings are as follows:

1. Aims and principles of response

2. Protection

3. Needs assessment and immediate response

4. Implementing arrangements and personnel

5. Supplies and logistics

6. Site selection, planning and shelter

7. Health

8. Food and nutrition

9. Water

10. Sanitation and environmental services

11. Social services and education

12. Field level management

How to request

In principle an adequate supply of the Handbook is available at every UNHCR field location for the use of UNHCR staff members. It is also available on the UNHCR RefWorld/RefMonde CD-ROM.

The Handbook can be provided to NGOs and local authorities upon request. The sum of $15 per copy is charged when more than 10 copies are required. When requesting copies the name of the recipient organization and the intended use of the Handbooks should be specified.

Requests should be made directly to EPRS stating the language required.

Opening an Office: Checklist for the Emergency Administrator

The Checklist is intended as a practical tool for UNHCR staff when responding to emergencies, who are assigned to duty stations where there is no established UNHCR presence or where the existing UNHCR office requires additional administrative support as a result of a changed refugee situation. However it is also most useful as a reference tool in established offices, and for administration training purposes. The Checklist has 3 components all of which are contained in an A4 ring binder:

1. The Checklist: lists most activities requiring attention when establishing a (Branch, Sub or Field) Office. The list is broken down into 5 main sections:


Communications and Transport

Personnel, Staff Conditions and Security

Finance, Equipment and Supplies

Filing and Documentation.

The list does not cover administrative procedures and action required for the ongoing needs of the office but concentrates solely on those matters related to the establishment of an office.

2. Annexes: extracts from existing documentation, which have been included for ease of reference and are not substitutes for existing manuals and instructions.

3. Computer diskette: contains the format for many forms or documents. These forms or documents can be copied and amended to suit local needs. The disc also includes a wide range of Printer Action Tables (PATs) and a standard memo Macro.

One Checklist should be available in all UNHCR Offices. The most recent version, Revision 6, was issued in March 1998.

How to request

Checklists are available on request from EPRS for new UNHCR offices. Since stocks are limited, please ensure that copies are not removed from the field offices.

Commodity Distribution: A Practical Field Guide

This guide outlines the procedures by which UNHCR field staff and operational partners can design and implement systems for commodity distribution. The field guide points out important issues on distribution and offers techniques and ideas based on best current practice. First published in June 1997, this document was produced through a series of consultations with agencies with a long involvement in commodity distribution, namely the World Food Programme, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and NGO implementing partners.

The Commodity Distribution field guide begins by acquainting the reader with a glossary of terms, commonly-used acronyms, and a summary of key points covered in the document. An overview of commodity distribution follows with a brief look at definitions, the main actors and their roles, the relationships between food and non-food items, and programme planning.

Other chapters of the field guide are devoted to the beneficiaries, categories of distribution and how to select the best for your particular situation, refugee involvement, and commodity distribution management. A final chapter addresses special issues in commodity distribution and provides answers to many of the common questions and problems encountered in the field.

A series of annexes provide (with some explanatory notes) commonly-used monitoring and reporting forms for both food and non-food item distribution.

How to request

Copies of Commodity Distribution: A Practical Field Guide can be made available by contacting HCDS or by e-mail at

UNHCR Emergency Fund

The purpose of the Emergency Fund is to provide:

a) financial resources for assistance programmes for refugees and displaced persons in emergency situations for which there is no provision in the programmes approved by the Executive Committee; and

b) such additional administrative expenditure resulting from those emergencies as cannot be met from the Regular Budget, pending action by the Executive Committee or the General Assembly.

The High Commissioner may allocate up to US$ 25 million annually from the Emergency Fund, provided that the amount made available for any one single emergency shall not exceed US$ 8 million in any one year and that the Fund will be maintained at not less than US$ 8 million.

The Fund may be reimbursed if sufficient funds to a given Appeal are later received.

How to request

Use of the Emergency Fund must be authorized by the Officers indicated below, subject to prior clearance by the Chief of PCS and the Head of the Funding and Donor Relations Service. Requests for use of the Emergency Fund are to be submitted to PCS by the Head of Desk or the Chief of Section for projects in their area of responsibility. The Director of the Regional Bureau or Division will countersign all requests for the use of the Emergency Fund. PCS will attach to all requests for over US$ 2.0 million a status report on allocations made to date. Copies of all authorizations are to be sent to the High Commissioner's Office.


Officer designated by the High Commissioner


Below US£ 2.0 million
Equal or above
US£ 2.0 million

Director, Division of
Operational Support
High Commissioner

1. Deputy High Commissioner
2. Officer in Charge
1. Deputy High Commissioner
2. Officer in Charge

OCHA Central Emergency Revolving Fund (CERF)

The Central Emergency Revolving Fund (CERF) of the Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs was established in December 1991 to provide funds within the UN system to respond rapidly to emergencies. CERF, which has a target level of US$ 50 million, is financed from voluntary contributions and is used for cash advances to operational organisations and entities within the system. These advances are to be reimbursed as a first charge against income subsequently received, usually as a result of consolidated appeals. Under exceptional circumstances, the rules allow for the non reimbursement on allocations made under the Fund. CERF is managed by the UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs.

How to request

The Head of Bureau or Chief of Section should address a memorandum to the High Commissioner, through the Director of Operational Support & the Head of Funding and Donor Relations Service seeking approval to request an allocation from the CERF. Once agreed, a letter is to be sent from the High Commissioner to the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, requesting an allocation from the Fund. This letter should:

- define the purpose and objectives of the programme

- specify the amount of money requested

- indicate the initiatives which are being undertaken to raise funds for this programme to allow for the Fund's reimbursement.

The USG for Humanitarian Affairs will reply confirming that an allocation can be made available, the conditions under which it is made and the reporting requirements. These two letters will constitute a formal exchange between the Organizations. In exceptional circumstances involving particularly urgent emergencies, the USG may authorize advances prior to the formal exchange of letters. This must however be followed with a formal exchange within 30 days.

Distance Learning Modules

Beginning in early 1998, EPRS will be pilot testing two distance learning modules on the UNHCR Infra-Net. These self-study courses follow and complement the other training and capacity-building initiatives described elsewhere in this catalogue.

The first two modules will cover two critical aspects of emergency preparedness and response: contingency planning and operations planning. EPRS plans to make these courses first available to staff either electronically or in the conventional paper format. At a later date, operational partners and/or other UN agencies will be able to access the course materials.

This distance learning initiative is carried out in collaboration with the University of Wisconson-Disaster Management Center who will administer the course on behalf of UNHCR. This course has the added advantage of offering credits towards the UW's Disaster Management Diploma Program.

How to request

Look for a formal announcement on the opening of this course. All details on participation in the course will be covered in this announcement.

Emergency Management Training Programme (EMTP)

The first Emergency Management Training Programme (EMTP) Workshop was held in 1985. In the first 12 years, over 1,500 staff members from UNHCR, NGOs, Governments and other UN agencies have participated in the EMTP. The courses are normally geared to mid-career managers and support staff preferably with some emergency/field experience. The objectives of the programme are to acquaint the participants with the purpose and goals of emergency management, illustrate the needs for general management skills and demonstrate specific applications of emergency management skills to priority areas such as planning, logistics, health, shelter and nutrition, as well as to offer operational partners the opportunity to exchange experience and lessons learned.

While courses were initially held at the University of Wisconsin at Madison USA they have, since 1992, been organized on a regional basis. The intention is to add a regional focus to the training and discussions. Three courses are organized each year. Each course normally lasts 11 days and is attended by some 35 participants. In addition to the standard lecture format, training methods include case studies, problem solving exercises, group discussions, films, a review of current disaster literature and sometimes field visits. Each course includes a one day simulation of a refugee emergency.

Since 1993 courses have been held in the following locations:

Botswana (Gaberone)

Kyrgzstan (Bishkek)

Ethiopia (Addis Ababa)

Nepal (Katmandu)

Ghana (Accra)

Senegal (Dakar)

Guinea (Conakry)

Thailand (Bangkok)

Jamaica (Kingston)

Turkey (Ankara)

Jordan (Amman)

Venezuela (Caracas)

Tanzania (Dar-es-Salaam)

Japan (Tokyo)

How to request

Prior to each course, EPRS will decide on the participating countries and the number of UNHCR, NGO, government and other UN participants from each country. UNHCR field offices will normally propose the participants within these categories. EPRS may also identify a small number of participants from outside the region, from the headquarters of NGOs or UN agencies. Agencies and individuals are invited to write to EPRS to express their interest in participating in future courses. While every effort will be made to accommodate such requests, the demand is high and not all requests can be met.

Workshop on Emergency Management (WEM/ERT)

The Workshop on Emergency Management (WEM/ERT) is an internal UNHCR Workshop for members of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) Roster members. The pilot Workshop was held in October 1993; WEM is now organized on a regular basis in March and September each year.

The primary aim is to prepare ERT Roster members for deployment. The Workshop is highly participatory, focusing on providing practical tips, tools and techniques to equip staff in managing emergency teams or participating as team members in emergency/repatriation operations. It has a more specific focus than the EMTP, and while prior participation in the EMTP is not a prerequisite, it may be an asset.

The 3 main themes of the Workshop are:

1 managing your role

2 managing relations

3 managing oneself

5 stages of emergency deployment are covered:

1 pre-deployment

2 arrival

3 team building & delivery

4 handover

5 return

Workshops are held near Geneva for around 28 participants.

The timing of the Workshops coincides with the beginning of the six month term of the new ERT roster, currently April and October of each year. The course is facilitated by an external consultant and normally at least two EPROs act as resource persons.

How to request

Since participation in the Workshop is dependent on membership of the ERT it is first necessary to be placed on the ERT roster [see section on Human Resources]. All ERT members should attend the WEM.

Targeted Training

EPRS complements its two core training activities - the EMTP and the WEM - by providing support to ad hoc emergency training of three general kinds:

a) Country or Region specific courses with a particular focus, for example contingency planning.

b) Workshops for a specific target audience such as training for external standby staff from agencies such as the Nordic Refugee Councils, Redda Barnen etc., as well as for staff at HQs (WEM/HQs).

c) Emergency courses organized locally by UNHCR Branch offices. For these local initiatives, EPRS is unable to provide funds or resource persons but can offer guidance on course outline and materials to assist in the preparation of training sessions.

d) Special seminars for senior managers on Emergency Management (Advanced Emergency Management Seminar (AEMS)).

How to request

Training requests will normally originate from field offices. Where forward planning is possible, the training sessions should be incorporated into the annual training plan. Where sudden or changed circumstances are the basis for a training need, a submission should be sent to EPRS through the relevant Desk. It should once again be stressed that in doing so, one should not assume that EPRS can provide resource persons for such training.