|Natural Disasters - Protecting the Public's Health (PAHO-OPS, 2000, 133 p.)|
Every country is a potential source of health humanitarian assistance for some other disaster-stricken nation. Bilateral assistance, whether personnel, supplies, or cash, is probably the most important source of external aid. Several intergovernmental or regional agencies have established special funds, procedures, and offices to provide humanitarian assistance.
This annex uses selected examples to illustrate the broad variety of extra-national agencies that provide health assistance after natural disasters. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list, and not all experienced and dedicated agencies providing valuable emergency assistance are included. Additional information and links to other humanitarian agencies are available on the Web sites listed.
UNITED NATIONS AGENCIES
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
The United Nations plays an important role in providing assistance in response to major humanitarian emergencies, as well as in promoting disaster reduction as part of the development plans of countries. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which replaced the Department of Humanitarian Affairs in 1998, coordinates the UN Systems response to major humanitarian emergencies, both natural and man-made, and promotes action to improve disaster prevention and preparedness. OCHAs responsibilities after disaster are, at the request of the disaster-stricken country, to assess needs, issue inter-agency appeals for funding humanitarian assistance, organize donor meetings and follow-up arrangements, monitor the status of contributions in response to appeals, and issue reports regarding developments.
The Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in individual countries reports to OCHA, and provides a channel for requests from governments to the international community. In addition, United Nations disaster management teams, country-level representatives of the U.N. agencies have been established in many countries, make arrangements to coordinate relief activities in anticipation of an emergency.
To permit rapid response to emergencies, OCHA has established a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team (UNDAC), which can be deployed immediately to an affected country to help local and national authorities determine relief requirements and carry out coordination.
New York office: OCHA, United Nations, S-3600, New York, NY
Geneva office: OCHA, United Nations, 8-14 ave. de la Paix, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
World Health Organization (WHO)
WHO is responsible for coordinating international health action. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and other WHO regional offices act as focal points for national health authorities and donors after disasters in their respective areas.
WHO can provide technical cooperation in assessing health-related needs, coordinating international health assistance, managing the inventory and distribution of relief supplies (see Annex II), carrying out epidemiologic surveillance and disease control measures, assessing environmental health, managing health services, formulating cost estimates for assistance projects, and procuring humanitarian supplies. WHO and its regional offices can provide limited material assistance by reprogramming country development activities or from other sources.
WHO, Avenue Appia 20,1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland
United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF)
While primarily concerned with building health, education, and welfare services for children and mothers in developing countries, UNICEF also has mechanisms to meet their immediate needs in emergencies. Working closely with U.N. agencies and NGOs, UNICEF emergency interventions focus on the provision of health care, nutrition, water supply and sanitation, basic education, and the psychosocial rehabilitation of traumatized children. UNICEF has a substantial cash reserve for use in emergencies, allowing the diversion of funds from regular programs to emergency operations pending the receipt of donor contributions.
UNICEF, 3 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017,
World Food Program (WFP)
The WFP furnishes large amounts of foodstuffs in support of economic and social development projects in developing countries. In addition, it has substantial resources with which to meet emergency food needs, some of which can be furnished from project food stocks already in a disaster-stricken country. The WFP purchases and ships food needed in emergencies on behalf of donors, and cooperates closely with WHO in the nutritional monitoring of emergencies.
World Food Program, Via Cesare Giulio Viola, 68, Parco dei
Medici, Rome 00148, Italy
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
The FAO provides technical cooperation and promotes investment in long-term agricultural development. It also works to prevent food shortages in the event of widespread crop failures or disasters. Through the Global Information and Early Warning system, the FAO issues monthly reports on the world food situation. Special alerts identify, for governments and relief organizations, countries threatened by food shortages. In both relief and short-term rehabilitation operations, FAO specialists are called on to help farmers re-establish production following floods, outbreaks of livestock disease, and similar emergencies.
FAO, Viale dell Terme di Caracalla. 1-00100 Rome,
European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO)
The European Union established ECHO in 1992 to oversee and coordinate humanitarian operations in non-member countries. ECHO works in partnership with NGOs, specialized United Nations agencies, and international bodies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross. In its first five years of existence, ECHO distributed emergency and reconstruction aid to areas of crisis in more than 60 countries. ECHO provides an important part of the operating budgets for humanitarian assistance for specialized U.N. agencies, and is the second largest donor to the World Food Program. It provides emergency aid, food aid, and aid to refugees and displaced people, in addition to investing in disaster prevention projects in high-risk regions.
ECHO, Rue Belliard 232,1040 Brussels, Belgium
Organization of American States (OAS)
The OAS is a regional agency that lends support to its Member States in assessing their vulnerability to natural hazards and mitigating the effects of disasters. It is active in technical assistance in development planning and project formulation and training projects. The OAS operates the Inter-American Fund for Assistance in Emergency Situations (FONDEM), which is administered by representatives from the OAS, the Inter-American Development Bank, and PAHO. Subject to the availability of voluntarily contributed funds, FONDEM provides food, medical supplies, and other relief to OAS Member States affected by disaster.
Center of Coordination for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America (CEPREDENAC)
CEPREDENAC, an official organization within the System for Central American Integration, has worked since 1988 to build the capacity of institutions in Central America to reduce vulnerability to disasters. With headquarters in Panama, it promotes disaster reduction in the region through exchange of information, developing common approaches to problem analysis, and developing regional strategies. In the aftermath of disasters, CEPREDENAC provides technical assistance in assessment and rehabilitation efforts.
CEPREDENAC, Aptdo. Postal 3133 Balboa, Ancón, Panama
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA)
CDERA is an intergovernmental regional disaster management organization established in 1991 by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). CDERA has 16 participating states and has its headquarters in Barbados. CDERAs main function is to coordinate response to any disaster affecting participating states. Types of assistance provided or coordinated by CDERA include relief supplies, emergency communications, emergency management personnel, and financial assistance. CDERA also works with countries to strengthen their disaster management capacity.
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency, The Garrison, St.
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)
In 1983, the Seventh-day Adventist World Service was reorganized under the name Adventist Development and Relief Agency. Active in development projects in 143 countries, ADRA also provides humanitarian assistance in disaster situations in the form of medical assistance, shelter, emergency supplies, and technical assistance.
ADRA Central Office, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD
American Council for Voluntary International Action (InterAction)
InterAction is a coalition of some 150 US-based, non-profit international development, disaster relief, and refugee assistance agencies. InterAction conducts advocacy campaigns on behalf of its members, coordinates and promotes relief and development activities, and operates as an information clearinghouse.
InterAction, 1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 801, Washington,
DC 20036, USA
CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere)
CARE International is a confederation of 10 national members in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. Based in Belgium, it manages more than 340 relief and development projects in 62 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. CARE USA, which oversees projects in Latin America, is based in Atlanta and provides emergency relief in the form of food, hand tools, and similar goods to disaster-affected communities. Its postdisaster projects include rehabilitation of water supply systems, rebuilding houses, and provision of basic sanitation or health facilities.
CARE USA, 151 Ellis Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30303-2439,
CARITAS Internationalis is an international confederation of 146 Catholic organizations in 194 countries and territories. It promotes, coordinates, and supports emergency relief and long-term rehabilitation activities.
CARITAS Internationalis, Palazzo San Calisto 16, I-00120 Citta
del Vaticano, Vatican
Web site: http://www.caritasint.org
Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
CRS, based in the United States, responds rapidly to emergencies by providing food, clothing, medical supplies, and shelter. Assistance is coordinated with the national CARITAS organization and the local Catholic clergy. CRS employs health professionals such as public health advisers and nutritionists who work closely with national health authorities.
Catholic Relief Services World Headquarters, 209 W. Fayette St.,
Baltimore, MD 21201-3443, USA
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
ICRC is a private, Swiss, and strictly neutral humanitarian organization based in Geneva. It works to protect and assist victims of armed conflict or disturbances. If a natural disaster should befall war refugees, for example, ICRC can provide aid in kind and services, particularly nutritional and medical assistance.
ICRC, 19 Ave. de la Paix, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA)
ICVA is an international association of nongovernmental, not-for-profit organizations who are active in the fields of humanitarian assistance and development cooperation. It does not implement relief or development projects itself, but provides an international liaison structure for voluntary agency consultation and cooperation.
ICVA, 48, chemin de Grand-Montfleury, 1290, Versoix,
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
IFRC is an international humanitarian organization, composed of and representing 175 member national societies, with an international secretariat based in Geneva. It coordinates humanitarian assistance internationally and operates within an affected country through the member national society or its own staff if no local society exists. The IFRC obtains cash donations and specific emergency items through international appeals, and donates them through the national society.
Assistance provided by IFRC or national societies consists of food, shelter, water and sanitation, medical supplies, telecommunications, volunteer workers, and, in some cases, self-supporting field hospitals and medical teams. Its long experience and considerable flexibility and resources make it a most valuable nongovernmental source of support and cooperation with the health sector.
IFRC, PO Box 372, CH1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland
Lutheran World Relief Federation (LWR)
LWR represents Lutheran churches of various denominations in the United States. It can provide in-kind assistance following disasters as well as loans for long-term reconstruction.
Lutheran World Relief, 390 Park Avenue South, New York, NY
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
In 1971, a group of French doctors established MSF, a humanitarian aid organization that provides emergency medical assistance to vulnerable populations in more than 80 countries. In countries where health structures are insufficient or even non-existent, MSF collaborates with national health authorities, working in rehabilitation of hospitals and pharmacies, vaccination programs, and water and sanitation projects. In addition to providing medical teams, MSF transports and distributes emergency supplies.
Médecins Sans Frontières International Office, 39, Rue de la
Tourelle-1040, Brussels, Belgium
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)
MCC is the relief and development arm of the North American Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches. Founded in 1920, MCC has more than 700 volunteers in 50 countries involved in food relief, agriculture, health, education, and social services. MCC provides volunteer personnel for cleanup, repair, and reconstruction, as well as emergency supplies in disaster situations.
Mennonite Central Committee, PO Box 500, Akron, PA 17501-0500,
Oxfam (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief)
Oxfam was founded in England to send relief supplies to refugees in Europe during World War II. Today, Oxfam International is a network of 11 humanitarian organizations based in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Quebec, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The focus of their work is to address issues of poverty, providing financial, technical, and networking assistance to grassroots groups undertaking community development. During disasters, Oxfam provides funding and technical support for immediate and long-term assistance. It has developed considerable expertise in managing refugee camps, nutritional relief, and housing projects.
Oxfam America, 26 West Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA
Oxfam U.K., 274 Banbury Rd., Oxford, OX2 70Z, UK
Founded in 1865 in London, the Salvation Army works in more than 100 countries to provide social, medical, educational, and other community services. In disaster situations, national affiliates provide health-care assistance and emergency supplies. It also operates an emergency radio network that assists in family tracing through a network of radio ham operators.
Salvation Army International Headquarters, 101 Queen Victoria
Street, London EC4P 4EP, UK
Save the Children Fund/Federation
Save the Children Fund (in the United Kingdom) and Federation (in the United States) are active in more than 65 countries. Involved in long-term development projects, in disaster situations they provide food, water, shelter, and other critical supplies, and assistance in reconstruction and rehabilitation of services.
Save the Children (U.S.), 54 Wilton Road, Westport, CT 06880,
Save the Children (U.K.), 17 Grove Lane, London, SE5 8RD, UK
Voluntary Organizations in Cooperation in Emergencies (VOICE)
VOICE is a network of European NGOs that are active in emergency aid, rehabilitation, disaster preparedness, and conflict prevention. Created in 1992, VOICE currently has about 65 members. The main purpose of VOICE is to foster links between the NGOs and facilitate their contact with the European Union, particularly ECHO.
VOICE, 10 Square Abiorix, B-10000 Brussels, Belgium
World Council of Churches (WCC)
The Council is a fellowship of more than 332 Protestant and Orthodox denominations in 120 countries and territories around the world, with its headquarters in Geneva. Through its member churches, it provides humanitarian assistance after disasters.
World Council of Churches, PO Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2,