Cover Image
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

Setting priorities

Priorities in programs for the displaced change over time. In or near conflict zones, the top priority is usually protection. A well-structured emergency assistance program may also be a top priority to save lives. Often protection depends on assistance. An international presence in the area must often be established to ensure respect for human rights.

Initial response: The primary factors that cause high death rates in an emergency are malnutrition, measles and diarrhea. Each is related to the other. A child that is severely malnourished will not be able to survive a case of measles. Severe diarrhea can quickly dehydrate and kill a malnourished person or someone with measles. In order to save lives, these three threats must be addressed. Therefore, the cornerstones of an effective emergency response are provision of food, immunization against communicable diseases, and diarrhea control carried out by providing dean water, oral rehydration and sanitation. Until these three sets of problems are addressed, it will be difficult to prevent increased mortality, especially among women and children.

Priorities in settlements: In the period immediately after arriving in settlements, special attention should be focused on women and children. It has been shown that abnormally high infant mortality rates occur during the first six months after the displaced arrive at their destinations.

Priorities during the settlement phase: At this stage, the top priority is providing employment opportunities so that families can earn enough money to survive until they can return to their homes.