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close this bookDisplaced Persons in Civil Conflict - 1st edition (DHA/UNDRO - DMTP - UNDP, 1991, 52 p.)
close this folderPart 3: Operational considerations
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPolitical constraints
View the documentLogistical difficulties
View the document''Structural'' problems
View the documentReaching people in conflict zones
View the documentAvoiding pacification
View the documentSetting priorities
View the documentStrengthening counterpart organizations

Logistical difficulties

It is often quite a challenge to reach the displaced with assistance. In many cases, they reside in remote areas where access and transportation may be difficult. The topography may be rugged and seasonal rains may make surface transportation hazardous and difficult. In the conflict zone, security conditions may prohibit or severely restrict travel. In areas adjacent to the conflict zone, security conditions may be marginal at best, especially for the displaced.

In these situations, full attention must be given to advance planning. It is often necessary to stockpile supplies in, or near, areas to which the displaced migrate to avoid shortages during times when these areas are isolated by conflict or climatic conditions.


Logistical problems are hampering the delivery of assistance.

UNHCR/J. Crisp
REFUGEES Magazine, June 1990

In some cases, the UN may have to rely on extraordinary means of transport. Garrison towns may have to be supplied by aircraft. On-site management may require the use of small planes to move quickly over vast areas where needs can change instantaneously. Emergency operations are often said to require planning in three dimensions: air, land and sea. However, operations planners should be aware that long-range relief operations, especially when aircraft are involved, are extremely expensive. Emphasis should be placed on procuring as many relief supplies as possible from local or nearby sources. It is often possible to use a broad range of market interventions that can have the same results as bringing large amounts of relief supplies from outside the affected area.