Cover Image
close this bookEmergency Management (United Nations Children's Fund, 390 p.)
close this folderWorkshop Session
View the documentSession 0: Opening Session
View the documentSession 1: Course Introduction*
View the documentSession 2: Perceptions of Emergencies
View the documentSession 3: Simulation*
View the documentSession 4: Principles of Emergency Management
View the documentSession 5: Early Warning & Pre-Disaster Planning
View the documentSession 6: Assessment
View the documentSession 7: Programme Planning
View the documentSession 8: Water & Sanitation
View the documentSession 9: Health
View the documentSession 10: Food and Nutrition
View the documentSession 11: Media Relations
View the documentSession 12: Supply and Logistics
View the documentSession 13: Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances
View the documentSession 14: International Relief System
View the documentSession 15: Funding
View the documentSession 16: Key Operating Procedures
View the documentSession 17: Applications of Emergency Manual and Handbook
View the documentSession 18: Training of Trainers

Session 16: Key Operating Procedures

KEY OPERATING PROCEDURES FOR EMERGENCIES (Field Office Operations)

Objectives

1. Understand that in general, normal operating procedures provide basis for running emergency operations so that familiarity with them is key to running successful emergency operations.

2. Be familiar with the exceptions which do exist in procedures for staffing, managing funds, handling communications for emergencies, know the rules, formats and checklists for above and be able to apply them.

3. Be familiar with UN security regulations as presented in the security handbook, but also be aware of their constraints and limitations and of other measures which can be taken to minimize risks and hardship.

4. Be aware of preparedness measures in an office which can and should be taken prior to onset of crises, particularly in disaster prone areas.

Learning Points Staffing

1. When you plan an intervention, take into consideration personnel required to implement and monitor in terms of numbers, responsibilities, duration of requirement and budget.

Then you have two options:

(a) see that these are met, or
(b) alter the plans.

2. Some alternatives for meeting staff requirements -

(a) Diversion of existing staff
(b) Borrow from NGO or government or bilateral
(c) Second from another UN agency
(d) Recruit locally
(e) Divert from another UNICEF office of HQ
(f) Recruit internationally
(g) Consultancies local or international

3. Restructuring the organization chart is important both to ongoing programme, the emergency and to phasing out.

(a) Ensure close linkages with permanent ongoing information, supply, admin, shipping and transport section.

(b) In most cases the representative should be senior reporting officer with direct link to senior emergency programme officer.

(c) Determine appropriate balance between independence and integration to assure optimum implementation and minimum disruption of ongoing operations (depending obviously on natural linkages).

(d) Make sure job descriptions, reporting lines are clear for all concerned.

(e) Consider the value of regular section chief or task force meetings to keep office briefed on

4. Do not be afraid to ask HQ for help in identifying needed expertise before it is too late.

5. Procedures are outlined in annexes in Handbook for creating posts, recruiting short-term opening, sub-office, drawing up job descriptions and communicating the appropriate information to HQ. In general, documentation is the same in normal and emergency situations.

6. Staff in emergencies are exposed to and sometimes severely affected by extended exposure to stress either from overwork, security and basic frustration. Always be sensitive to early warning signs of worker stress even if staff member himself does not acknowledge a problem. Consider the options including:

- regular R & R
- staff rotation
- hardship allowance
- good briefing for new comers
- good communication among staff

MANAGING FUNDS

1. Referring to the session on funding, review the basic administrative documentation associated with ERF, diversions, unsolicited contributions and appeal funds.

2. Close monitoring of funds raised, committed and specs is essential for flexible operations as well as for accountable reporting. Existing monitoring systems are ideal and must be kept up-to-date. In the midst of chaos, if this is not possible, other measures may be utilized including the paper trail of sitreps.

3. Ensure adequate cash reserves in the office in local and foreign currency in case banks close.

4. Make sure 2 or 3 staff members are conversant with the above and the emergency handbook.

COMMUNICATIONS

1. Review the format, use ahd benefit of sitreps as a comprehensive document for action, follow-up and de facto monitoring.

2. In disaster prone areas, a preliminary inventory and possible upgrading of communication channels are advisable. This can include radios, radio telephones, ham radio operators, embassies with satellite communications, the military, public radio, the BBC, etc. (The value of monitoring BBC should not be underestimated.) The technical difficulties can be explored in advance.

3. Communication channels need to be assessed at various levels, between, UNICEF staff among UN agencies with other internationals with the military externally with neighbouring countries with HQ.

SECURITY

1. The UN security handbook describes the overall UN security system and how it functions, particularly for international staff (Phase I through V). It fails to address a number of issues and of course does not have all the answers. Personalities, circumstances, often seem to override, nevertheless, the authority of the designated official is absolute and this must be kept in mind at all times. Make sure all staff are briefed.

2. Review checklist for preparedness of office premises and staff.

3. Since security plans rarely materialize the importance of independent, rational and creative decision making.

4. Involving local staff is essential to having access to updated information.

5. In anticipation of crisis, maintenance of an informed network of contacts is extremely valuable. This includes local staff, local merchants, counterparts, neighbours, local and foreign press, diplomats. Members of the press. In particular, tend to have the most up to date information, hence an established rapport is important in a crisis.

Possible Learning Methods

1. Lecture

2. Case study of Lebanon: Analysis of the emergency operation in Lebanon as it related to above issues of staffing, managing funds, communication and security. You may select another case study from your own experience.

3. Group discussion - Identify three realistic preparedness initiatives as relevant to your own country situation.

4. Overheads for BAL amendments and checklists to illustrate points under "managing funds".

Required Reading

1. Handbook:

Chapters on Field Office Operations
Annex - Sitrep format
Annex - Job description/creating post
Annex - Opening a sub-office

2. Role of Emergency Operations Unit (EMOPS)

Supplementary Reading

1. "Children in Armed Conflict Situations", discussion papers for MENA Regional Staff meeting (November 1986. Cairo)

Speakers' Preparation Aids

1. Format for a Sitrep (1)
2. UN Security Handbook
3. BALs and Project Summary examples (2)
4. Lebanon case study with map (3)
5. Comments on UNICEF Staff Security: Gullmar Anderson (4)

FORMAT FOR SITREP 01

(Prepare the telex in the following format, including the headings shown (PRIMO - NATURE AND.... etc.) and presenting the points under each heading as paragraphs AAA), BBB), etc. Leave a blank line after each heading and between each paragraph.)

To: NYHQs; GEHQs; Regional Office

FOR (..director/EOU..)/(..chief programme desk)
INFO (..emergency officer/GEHQs..)/(..Regional Director..)

PRIMO - NATURE AND IMPACT OF EVENTS

· The nature of the situation, its rimary cause and any immediate secondary effects. The date, time and location.

- The geographic area affected and the estimated total population thereof.

· The general-social & economic impact, and particular effects on children. Quote the sources of any official or other reports.

· The reported numbers of dead, injured, hospitalized, and the proportion of the population believed to be affected in specific ways.

· The projected evolution of the situation, including any possible secondary effects (e.g. further flooding or population movements).

SECUNDO - SECTORAL ASSESSMENTS

Brief summary of the main findings of assessment (to date) in terms appropriate to the situation, possibly as follows:

AAA) Food supplies and nutrition
BBB) Health
CCC) Water and sanitation
DDD) Shelter and household needs
EEE) Special child problems

TERTIO - ACTIONS TAKEN AND PLANNED BY GOVERNMENT AND OTHERS

· The financial and organizational capacity of the government to cope. Whether an official request made for international assistance.

· Actions already taken and/or planned by the government and others. Any needs remaining unmet.

· The mechanisms that exist for coordination between concerned agencies and with the government.


QUARTO - UNICEF ACTION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
· Whether any UNICEF staff member has visited the area and/or been temporarily assigned there.

· What immediate relief, if any, has been arranged within the representative's own discretion: how distributed/used.

· What, if any, further UNICEF action/assistance is proposed:

- Specific nature of action/assistance;
- Estimated cost;
- Operational means of implementation;
- Time frame/schedule;
- Suggested method of financing;
- Relationship to regular UNICEF programme.

· Whether any further assistance from UNICEF might be proposed later.

QUINTO - ORGANIZATIONAL AND OTHER ASPECTS

· Any security problems for UN/UNICEF personnel.
· Whether any additional staff support is needed: If so, what and when.
· Any other matters of internal-UNICEF management and organization.
· What documents and other materials are being sent (by pouch, mail, courrier).

When" next Sitrep (02) will be issued.


REGARDS (Signature)

FORMAT FOR SITREPS 02, 03, etc.

(Address as for SITREP 01, Annex 37. Include the following aspects, as appropriate, in the order presented here:

PRIMO - NEW DATA

· Particular events, developments or new information since the last report.

SECUNDO - PROGRESS OF OPERATIONS

· Progress and problems in implementation of each programme activity of concern to UNICEF since the last report; mention specifically programme components supported by particular donor contributions.

· Any changes in previously announced plans/intentions, with reasons.


TERTIO - FINANCIAL POSITION

· CFs & POs issued, and expenditures incurred since last sitrep. Balance of funds uncommitted.

QUARTO - NEW PROPOSALS

· Any proposals for new/additional UNICEF assistance:

- Specific nature of action/assistance;
- Estimated cost;
- Operational means of implementation;
- Time frame/schedule;
- Suggested method of financing.
- Relationship to current efforts of UNICEF and others.

QUINTO - INTERNAL UNICEF MATTERS

· Changes in the security situation for UN/UNICEF personnel.
· Personnel movements since last report: present disposition of involved staff.
· Specific problems/questions/needs in matters of supply, finance, personnel, administration.

SEXTO - MISCELLANEOUS

· Particular human interest stories (useful for public information and fund raising purposes).
· Any notable visits/contacts with journalists and other visitors.
· What documents, etc. are being sent.
· When next sitrep will be issued.

REGARDS (Signature)

Differences between the Old and New
"Major Field" Codes, With Explanations

New Code

Major Field or Theme

Remarks

M

Emergency

An Emergency section would not normally be in a country programme BAL when it is initially drawn up. But when UNICEF decides to provide emergency assistance, an Emergency section would be created (with an additional project number "M ---) -

(1) through an amendment to the G BAL (with additional funds from the Executive Director's reserve), or
(2) through a revision to the G BAL (by reshuffling programme commitments), or
(3) by creating or amending an S BAL if special contributions become available for that emergency.

It is important that no call-forwards be made under the normal projects (in the H, N, etc. fields) for assistance which is truly of emergency nature, but that an "M -- " project be created, without which it would be difficult to monitor.

3

Rehabilitation

Care should be exercised in determining what sorts of activity and assistance are truly of emergency nature - usually of short duration, and what follow-up activities should be classified as rehabilitation, frequently of longer duration.

BASIC ASSISTANCE LIST


Project Summary Sheet


Project Summary Sheet


Project Summary Sheet


CASH CALL FORWARD

BASIC ASSISTANCE LIST


Project Summary Sheet


Project Summary Sheet


Project Summary Sheet


SUPPLY CALL - FORWARD (SCF)

***

Speaker’s Aid

TITLE: Perspectives on Lebanon
AUTHOR: Moira Hart

SESSION: KEY OPERATIONS PROCEDURES FOR EMERGENCIES

***

PERSPECTIVES ON LEBANON

BACKGROUND

UNICEF, having an established regional office in Beirut Lebanon since the fifties, found itself located in one of the strategic foci of regional hostilities since the outbreak of civil war in 1976.

The country itself, fell effectively outside the mandated criteria for development in terms of health status (unconfirmed) economic indicators (regular program $75,000). As such, the development interventions were proportionality limited both in view of need as well as magnitude, given a population of less than 3 million and covering only 10,000 sq. km. in area.

Nevertheless, the tragedy of strife for deprived communities and vulnerable groups within them, called for the sending of an assessment mission in 1976, as re-entry following evacuation of al missions in 1976. After which we began working in relief with ICRC, food, children clothing - drugs, blankets, shelter materials

Other than the establishment of a UN observes force in Lebanon, UNICEF was the first UN civilian agency to undertake such an initiative and found itself obliged to respond to the unmet needs, of the general population rather than its traditional target group - children and mothers.

Initial Assessment

The combined effects of conflict i.e. (a) displacement (b) administrative -deterioration (c) economic decay (d) widespread physical and functional breakdown in essential government services. Health facilities, schools and water supply required initially, major rehabilitation in terms of structure and equipment.

In view of a significant financial input from special contributions, the government of Lebanon requested UNICEF to implement a fairly extensive program to address this task. This was augmented later from Arab sources and later a major donor conference.

MANDATE

This responded to organizational mandate for rehabilitation phase of emergencies.

(a) restoration of essential services for survival healthy development of children.

(b) In enhancing family capacity to care for children.

(c) facilitate the capacity of the community to return to normal life

(d) provide opportunity for self-help and revitalize local economy

(e) responding in geographic area, where government lacked capacity/and access

(f) Complementing the UN response of military/peace keeping intervention with humanitarian response as well as mobilizing UNICEF resources for civilian needs.

PROJECT PLANNING

With 60 mm Lebanese pounds, from a relatively strong government counterpart plus substantial support from donors and UNICEF, a project was set up with a detailed workplan a set of implementing arrangements with CDR the Council for Development and reconstruction to be undertaken from 1980-1985. The operation was staffed with the chief in Beirut and operational HQ in Qana - South Lebanon. This structure was separate from but reporting to Regional Director and the Emergency Unit in HQ.

OBJECTIVES

Implicit in the implementing arrangements was the idea of maximizing local staff recruitment (expertise available) and employing local economy. Projects were planned, executed in turn key fashion. The counterpart relationship with CDR forward, an ultimate hand over and phasing out of such activities at such time as the over situation allowed.

RELIEF ACTIVITIES

Over the 9 year period of intervention to date, major outbreaks of fighting have resulted in emergency relief needs over the average and above rehabilitation to which the humanitarian community both national and international have responded. UNICEF, without exception mobilized available staff and funds in areas of competence to provide

(a) emergency water supplies & pipe repair in densely populated urban areas hit directly by fighting and then to large populations of displaced persons in temporary urban settings.

(b) medical supplies when called for

(c) relief supplies for displaced persons

All of the above capitalized on established capacity as well as accessibility generated by ongoing presence of knowledge of the complexities of the gee/political environment.

CONSTRAINTS/OPPORTUNITIES

It became evident over the period that ongoing assessment and modifications in the response was required.

With successive events, geographic areas were affected and hence the affected population grew, became displaced and infrastructural repairs became necessary in North of the Litani. The area of preparation expanded to Beirut in 82 after the Israeli invasion and as far north as Tripoli with other conflicts between domestic regional groups. In all cases, very favorable donor response enabled expansion and extension of operations.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Clearly, security, mobility, political acceptability (neutrality) affected capacity to implement both negatively and positively. However, a sensitive informed flexible management approach facilitated greatly as cumulative experience and understanding. Despite 5 international staff evacuations and a period of 1 year of being cut off from South Lebanon, by road, the project continued uninterrupted. With a total of 900 projects implemented over a 5 year period, clearly systems for planning monitoring operations evolved. Successful application of word processing systems to administrative as well as operational decisions greatly facilitated. The progress report divided sectionally and provided an invaluable tool for ongoing monitoring, reporting and revising of plans.

PUBLIC RELATIONS/DONORS RELATIONS

The attention of the press, the waning interest of the international community resulted in sporadic injection of funds. Nearing the end of the period being discussed, many local bilateral missions having blocked funds, unwilling to implement through government, supported UNICEF's work.

WHAT WAS DONE?

Project type: Repair/Restore/Equipment government services in:

Water
Education
Health
Community Self-Help

WHY?

WHAT WAS PLANNED AND NOT DONE?

WHY NOT?

***

Speaker’s Aid

TITLE: Comments on UNICEF Staff Security
AUTHOR: Gullmar Andersson

SESSION: KEY OPERATING PROCEDURES FOR EMERGENCIES

***

COMMENTS ON UNICEF STAFF SECURITY

By J. Gullmar Andersson

UN security plan

I believe there exists a UN security plan in all countries where a Designated Official of the United Nations is established. This plan contains more or less all aspects of what to do and what not to do in emergency situations. The problem with this type of detailed planning regarding evacuation and so on is that it is very rarely implementable in full if a chacotic situation develops. In all situations where I have been involved with evacuation of dependents or staff with clearly developed security plans, it has not been possible to fulfill and one has to improvise to carry out the evacuation of staff.

On the other hand one can still extract very useful information from the plan itself and how to enable the precaution and safe-guarding of staff in emergency situations.

Office security

Especially in civil disturbances UN offices can attract various sources of actions such as demonstrations, bombs or other actions by groups of population. It is therefore important that the control of visitors to the office be very strict. This can be done by creating a reception that screens all visitors.

I have found it very useful in cases of demonstration of which the United Nations had been informed in advance to try to meet with the organizers such a demonstration to go out of hand. Still, I must point out that it is very often a risky business to meet the demonstrators if they are in large groups and it can be of use to rather receive a smaller delegation in your office than meet the whole group of demonstrators outside. It is even more dangerous to not to meet with demonstrators, so a very diplomatic approach is recommended.

In situations of civil unrest in a country I would urge all heads of offices to be outmost flexible with regard to working hours. To safeguard staff traveling from their home to the office it can be useful to let them stay at home in the morning until they have heard the morning news on local radio stations to enable them to find a safe route to the office. The same applies to letting staff go home early to avoid traveling in darkness if the situation so requires.

Senior staff of the office should, if there are indications of possible kidnapping, be permitted to use flexible working hours so that they can every day travel at different times and use different routes to avoid a possible ambush.

An emergency stock of tinned food and drinks should always be kept in the office to facilitate a stay over in the office for several days if necessary. If the office space permits it is also very useful to stock blankets and camp beds.

To prevent splinters from windows in cases of explosions there are now on the market both transparent plastic films to cover windows or curtains that absorb glass splinters. The plastic film was used very successfully in Beirut.

In times of unrest the Chief of the office should decide on all trips staff wish to take outside the office in their line of duty. As a general rule, keep trips to the minimum.

Security at home

The security plan normally spells out that one should stock tinned food, drinks, candles, operating transistor radios, store water, etc. In addition, have all travel documents and some cash at hand.

In my opinion, the most important issue regarding security at home is discipline. Staff members and dependents should always inform each other where they are going, with what means and when they are expected to return home. The planned schedules should be strictly adhered to. The same applies for advice given by Designated Official, Chief Warden or Wardens. One should always keep in mind that acting against instructions and ending up in a dangerous situation often means that somebody else will have to take risks to save you.

A common problem is when fighting suddenly erupts and children are at school. It might be impossible to bring them back home. Parents should always discuss what arrangements have been made by the school to meet this type of emergency. Normally the school would keep students until fighting has died down and children can be collected. But it is always useful to find out exactly what arrangements have been made in advance of any emergency.

It is always useful to reinforce doors and windows in your house or flat. A most useful protection is a "peep-hole" in the door to check on who is calling on you. As a general rule, never open the door to anybody you don't know or expect.

A big dog is also a method of improving your protection at home.

Communications

Communications in emergency situations are very important. A complicating factor is that in fighting situations telephone and electricity are often cut off. Therefore a radio network is very important and should exist in all duty stations.

A problem with a radio network is that batteries need to be charged and that is often forgotten and subsequently the walkie-talkie is not functioning when needed.

It is important to maintain fixed hours for transmissions as otherwise it is more or less impossible to reach everybody with a message.

National staff

The rules governing the United Nations responsibility are unclear and in many instances subject to interpretation. It frequently happens that ad hoc measures have to be adopted for later clearance with the Headquarters. Some measures made in Lebanon, and not strictly "according to the book" proved successful:

a - Permit staff to remain at home during periods of heavy fighting although staff would be able to reach the office (the idea behind is that it is of little use to have staff sitting in the office, worrying about their families and producing very little).

b - Establish a "skeleton" staff group that, either are living close to the office, or are volunteers to come to the office even in the most difficult situations.

c - Remove national staff and their families (if their home is in a "hot" area) to a hotel or another accommodation outside the area of fighting. This is an expensive but effective method to protect national staff and their families.

In accordance with the United Nations rules, the office should always keep an up-to-date list of all national staff, their dependents and home addresses.

In agreement with the Designated Official, the head of the office may give national staff up to two months salary in advance and, if needed, a special grant to remove themselves to a safe area.

Still, in my opinion, much more could be done to protect and assist national staff as they, in many instances, are in a much more dangerous situation that the expatriates.

Transport

Transport is another crucial issue. In war situations, law and order break down, there are fuel shortages and public transport systems cease to operate.

Vehicles are therefore very attractive for thefts or hijacking, both by fighting parties and common criminals. The more "attractive" vehicle, the greater risk.

Vehicles that can be used for military purposes should be avoided to the extent possible (Landrovers, Toyota Landcruisers, VW combis, etc...). The rule should be: "the smaller the car, the better it is."

It is very useful to have at least some vehicles equipped with radio transceivers linked to the UN security net. Although it increases the risk of theft/hijacking, it is a great advantage to have instant contact if there are difficulties.

If serious trouple is expected, always keep fuel tanks filled up and establish a fuel reserve. This is particularly important if a planned evacuation is going to be carried out by car.

In some situations the risk of cars being "booby-trapped" exists. It is important that staff who drive cars have at least an elementary training in how to detect explosives in the car. Several different devices exist in the world today for quick search and detection of explosives in cars.

If the situation in the country is friendly towards the United Nations, it may be useful to waive the rule one can carry a UN flag on the car and let all official cars carry the UN flag.

It goes without saying that all cars should be equipped with First-Aid-Kit ("heavy-duty," not the normal type) and fire-extinguisher. It may be useful to equip staff, moving in particular "hot" areas with bullet-proof vests and possibly helmets.

Movements

Another rule which should be observed in times of disturbances is "the less you move, the less exposure to fighting you have." There are evidences of UN officials who have not had a situation under full control and who started moving staff to assembled areas in the midst of fighting. This should never be done. Staff are safer if they are in the office or at home and the movement should be postponed until the end of fighting.

Staff relations

In cases of civil disturbances, some staff members may not be able to cope with the situation and would like to leave the country immediately. It is my firm belief that such staff members should be evacuated in the shortest time possible to avoid a damage to their health and almost always, a very nervous staff member kept in a country more or less against his will is a danger both to himself and to his colleagues.

Rest and recuperation

To work and live in a war situation is to exist in an extreme stressful condition.

UN rules have very small provisions to assist staff in this regard. When other agencies, more specialized in working under war conditions, rarely keep staff in such situations more than three months, after which a proper "de-briefing" is carried out, the United Nations tend to look at the problem more in line with "accelerated home leave." This is far from being enough in prolonged war situations. The Head of the office has a great responsibility in closely observing the staff to detect when stress is reaching a too high toll and in doing whatever can be done to get the staff member out of the war zone so he can have some rest and recuperation.

This is also an issue for the G.S.A. to discuss and which hopefully will lead to more generous conditions for UN staff in war situations.

Relations with Governments/fighting groups

In a war between two countries, normal relations with the governments can be maintained. This is more difficult in a civil war situation. It is on one hand very difficult to implement projects without contact with all sides in the conflict. In some instances, it may be possible to obtain at least the tacit agreement of the government to have informal contact with opposing sides.

It is in all situations a very sensitive issue which requires a lot of "diplomatic skills." The danger is always to end up being identified with one side in a conflict which makes the other side looking at UNICEF as the enemy.

Threats

Frequently, in war situations, threats are given to either the UN office or to individual staff members. All threats should initially be taken seriously. It is better to be too careful than the other way around. When a threat has been received, always try to eliminate the risks (evacuate staff members, close office, etc.) and at the same time quietly investigate, through contacts, the seriousness of the threat.

LAST BUT PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE ONE CAN GIVE TO STAFF WORKING IN A WAR SITUATION,

DON'T BE A HERO!

DAILY EVALUATION FORM

Day _______________
Session ____________

1. In your view, what were the key points learned in this session?

2. Comment on the application of these within UNICEF and your situation.

3. Suggest any additional critical points that should have been covered.

4. Do you have comments on the suggested reading?

Suggest any additional information sources for sessions of the day.
Texts:
Persons:
Case Studies:
Film:
Other:

5. Comment on the learning methodology (lectures, group work, films) used in the session.