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close this bookHandbook for Emergencies - Second Edition (UNHCR, 1999, 414 p.)
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


1. The vital role of the supply chain must not be overlooked in the initial planning, and the input of a logistics specialist is required on any assessment mission. The more remote the location of the refugees, the more difficult will be the logistical problems, yet these are the situations where logistic support or the lack of it becomes the key to success or failure.

The ability to deliver the right supplies to the right place at the right time and in the right quantities is a prerequisite for an effective emergency operation.

2. The supply chain must provide for international purchase, transport, swift unloading and duty-free clearance on arrival, local purchase, transit storage, onward transportation, and final distribution, with proper stock control at every stage. Figure 1 shows the likely major components of the system in diagrammatic form.

3. Logistical support can be disrupted by unpredictable events and many factors outside UNHCR's control including customs delays, breakdowns, looting, and the vagaries of nature. Furthermore, the numbers requiring assistance often increase during the emergency phase of an operation.

The supply chain must provide for spare capacity because available capacity may become quickly overwhelmed.