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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
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
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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
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentPlanning as a Process
View the documentContingency Planning Tasks
View the documentCharacteristics of a Good Plan
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View the documentAnnexes
close this folder5. Initial Assessment, Immediate Response
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentOrganizing the Assessment
View the documentImmediate Response
View the documentProtection and Material Assistance
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close this folder6. Operations Planning
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View the documentOperations Planning Tasks
View the documentAllocation of Responsibilities
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close this folder7. Coordination and Site Level Organization
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View the documentCoordination
View the documentOrganization at the Site Level
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close this folder8. Implementing Arrangements
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View the documentImplementing Arrangements
View the documentImplementing Procedures
View the documentMonitoring, Reporting and Evaluation
View the documentSpecial Considerations
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close this folder9. External Relations
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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
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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
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentPopulation Estimates
View the documentRegistration
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close this folder12. Site Selection, Planning and Shelter
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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
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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
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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
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close this folder15. Food and Nutrition
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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
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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
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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
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View the documentAnnexes
close this folder18. Supplies and Transport
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View the documentOrganization of the Supply Chain
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View the documentReception of Goods
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View the documentStock Management
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close this folder19. Voluntary Repatriation
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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
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close this folder21. Communications
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View the documentCommunications Management
View the documentTelecommunications
View the documentUNHCR Telecommunications Network Field Preparations
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close this folder22. Coping with Stress
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentIdentifying Stress Symptoms
View the documentTechniques for dealing with Stress
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close this folder23. Staff Safety
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentThe UN Security System
View the documentEssential Plans
View the documentSecurity
View the documentSecurity Management
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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

Introduction

1. Emergency assistance must be based on a sound, though rapid, assessment of the refugees' most immediate problems and needs and the resources available to meet those needs.

2. The objective of the initial problem analysis and needs assessment is to provide UNHCR with a clear and concise picture of the emergency situation, in both quantitative and qualitative terms. It should provide enough information to predict the evolution of the emergency, at least in the short term. It is the basis for decisions which affect the future of the operation.

3.

More detailed assessments will follow as the emergency develops and needs evolve: assessment never stops.

The initial and subsequent assessments are intricately linked with, and will form the basis for, operations planning. The initial assessment will also build on the contingency planning process.

4. The initial assessment should:

Answer the questions "what is the main problem?" and "is there an emergency or not?";

Provide sufficient information to decide whether UNHCR should be involved in the emergency response and what the scope of that involvement should be;

Be an inter-agency initiative, but with one body providing the overall coordination. The team should include staff from UNHCR, the government and other potential partners (for example other UN agencies, NGOs). Ideally the inter-agency body used for contingency planning should provide the basis for the group carrying out a simple problem and needs assessment. Often the people carrying out the initial assessment will simultaneously be providing the initial response. Whenever possible, the assessment team should include those who will implement the emergency operation in the field;

Be carried out quickly;

Provide a full picture of the scope of the emergency, rather than focus on a limited area or sector (it is better to get the whole picture half right);

Describe the people affected by the emergency (a simple demographic profile);

Identify the coping ability of the refugees themselves;

Identify locally available resources;

Identify what are the most immediate priorities;

Use agreed and appropriate standards against which needs can be measured;

Involve the refugees, women and men, from the outset. Get to know them and understand their concerns. They are a key source of information;

Record the sources of information collected;

Cross-check information, not relying on only one tool (e.g. aerial surveys cross-checked by on the ground observations and interviews);

Involve appropriate technical input;

Use samples and surveys rather than collect too much detailed information which is difficult to analyze;

Produce recommendations for immediate action indicating the resources needed to implement them;

Be able to trigger an immediate and effective response;

Have the results shared promptly and widely.

5. The assessment should, as a minimum, answer the questions in the checklist in Annex 1. This includes essential minimum information required for planning an emergency operation.

6. The initial assessment should focus on the priority life threatening problems which are usually in the sectors of protection, water, food, sanitation, shelter and health. The assessment should measure the actual condition of the refugees against what is needed for their survival and immediate well-being (expressed as "standards"). The resources at their disposal should also be assessed.

The setting of standards appropriate for the situation is an important prerequisite for needs assessment.

7. Standards provide a benchmark against which the condition of the refugees can be measured (see Appendix 2 for some of the minimum survival standards). The standards established for emergency assistance must be consistent with the aim of ensuring the survival and basic well-being of the refugees, be fairly applied for all refugees and be respected by all involved.

8. The document Initial Assessment in Emergency Situations: a Practical Guide for Field Staff (see references) includes more detailed checklists for assessments, and contains practical information on principles, planning, techniques, methods, and forms. See also chapter 6 on operations planning for an example of a Gap Identification Chart, a useful tool for comparing needs and resources.