Cover Image
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
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View the documentDefinition and Aim
View the documentResponsibilities
View the documentPrinciples of Response
close this folder2. Protection
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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 documentThe Key Emergency Management Functions
View the documentStages in Refugee Emergency Operations
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close this folder4. Contingency Planning
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View the documentPlanning as a Process
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close this folder5. Initial Assessment, Immediate Response
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close this folder6. Operations Planning
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View the documentAllocation of Responsibilities
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close this folder7. Coordination and Site Level Organization
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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
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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
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close this folder11. Population Estimation and Registration
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View the documentPopulation Estimates
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close this folder12. Site Selection, Planning and Shelter
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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 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
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close this folder14. Health
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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
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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
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close this folder16. Water
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View the documentAssessment and Organization
View the documentThe Need
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close this folder17. Environmental Sanitation
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View the documentBasic Principles And Standards
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close this folder18. Supplies and Transport
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close this folder19. Voluntary Repatriation
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View the documentUNHCR's Role in Voluntary Repatriation
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View the documentOn Route
View the documentOn Arrival in Country of Origin
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close this folder20. Administration, Staffing and Finance
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View the documentEmergency Staffing
View the documentBudget and Finance
View the documentNon-Expendable Property and Office Supplies
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close this folder21. Communications
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close this folder22. Coping with Stress
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close this folder23. Staff Safety
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View the documentThe UN Security System
View the documentEssential Plans
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close this folder24. Working with the Military
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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. There is no single blueprint for refugee emergency management; each refugee emergency is unique. However, experience shows that emergencies tend to evolve according to certain recognizable and documented patterns.

Good emergency management relies on knowledge of these patterns and of the effective measures to deal with them.

Emergency situations do not necessarily result in tragedy. The chance of this occurring will be greatly reduced if the emergency is well managed from the stage of preparedness onwards.

2. While emergency management shares many of the characteristics of good management in general, there are a number of distinguishing features:

i. The lives and well-being of people are at stake;

ii. Reaction time is short;

iii. Risk factors are high and consequences of mistakes or delays can be disastrous;

iv. There is great uncertainty;

v. Investment in contingency planning and other preparedness activities is crucial;

vi. Staff and managers may be under particularly high stress because of, for example, security problems and harsh living conditions;

vii. There is no single obvious right answer.

Organization of this Section

3. This section of the handbook (chapters 3 to 9) is structured to reflect the phases of emergency preparedness and response. Firstly, the preparedness activities of contingency planning and early warning are dealt with (chapter 4), followed by initial needs and resources assessment and immediate response (chapter 5). Operations planning, coordination and site level organization are dealt with in chapters 6 and 7. Next, implementing arrangements are discussed, including procedures for operations implementation and control (chapter 8). Finally, chapter 9 on external relations covers relations with the host government (including establishing a formal presence in the country of operations), relations with the donor and diplomatic community and handling media interest. Note that certain activities cut across the phases of emergency preparedness and response. This is particularly the case with external relations, coordination, and planning.

4. Figure 1 shows some of the considerations discussed in this section in diagrammatic form, in particular in relation to emergency response. The response activities of problems and needs assessments, operations planning, implementing arrangements and programme formulation are all very closely related. Some aspects treated separately may be indivisible in practice, and there is no single correct order or way in which an emergency operation should be formulated (but it must conform to established UNHCR procedures governing project submission and control).


Figure 1 - Considerations in Emergency Management

Capacity and Resources

5. Emergency management can be defined as:

the organization of capacities and resources to meet threats to the lives and well-being of refugees.

6. Preparing for and responding to refugee emergencies are tasks which require the availability of the right resources at the right time as well as the capacity to use these resources effectively.

7. Capacity is the internal organizational capability which includes planning, staffing, structure, systems, procedures, guidelines, information flow, communication, decision-making and administrative support. Resources are the financial and human resources, relief materials, support equipment, tools and facilities.

8. If capacity is weak, then the emergency response is likely to be weak, even if resources are adequate.

Strong capacity can sometimes alleviate resource shortfalls by making more effective use of limited resources.

9. Capacity is an aspect of emergency management which is sometimes not given adequate priority. Resources are often given more emphasis during both the planning and operational stages since they are a more tangible element. But it is capacity that determines the quality of an emergency response. A well-capacitated organization is more likely to be able to mount a credible and effective operation, attracting the necessary resources.

10.

Effective emergency management requires that the development and use of capacity be accorded correct priority throughout the different phases of an operation.

While much of the required capacity must be pre-existing, capacity can also be developed during an operation.