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close this bookAn Overview of Disaster Management (Department of Humanitarian Affairs/United Nations Disaster Relief Office - United Nations Development Programme , 1992, 136 p.)
close this folderChapter 7. Disaster preparedness
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentComponents of disaster preparedness
View the documentPreparedness for slow onset and sudden onset disasters
View the documentPreparedness within the United Nations 2
View the documentChecklist of basic information required by a UN-DMT 3

Checklist of basic information required by a UN-DMT 3

3 From UNDP/UNDRO Disaster Management Manual, Appendix 3B.

In order to facilitate rapid, appropriate responses to disasters, the following kinds of information should be readily available in advance to all members of the UN-DMT.

The Government should have much of this information incorporated and maintained up-to-date in the framework of a national disaster preparedness plan. This information should be made available to the Resident Coordinator, and member agencies of the UN-DMT.

If this information is not available, or only partially available, the UN-DMT should compile and maintain it as a team effort, normally in collaboration with national counterparts. The specialized agencies would each address respective areas of concern. The resident coordinator should see that all sectors are covered.

The check list presented here should be adapted to local circumstances. Special care and attention should be given to information relevant to areas and communities which are particularly vulnerable and disaster-prone.

This checklist often refers to agency or organizational contacts. To keep your information current, you should have for all contacts:

· name
· office address and telephone, fax, and telex numbers
· home address and telephone number
· electronic mail address, if the person has one

You should have the same information for any alternates or deputies.

Disaster profile of country

The history of the incidence and magnitude of particular types of disasters in different areas; their impacts on the population and the economy.

The types of emergency and post-disaster assistance provided from all sources in the past; the effectiveness of that assistance given the problems faced - the lessons learned.

The kinds of needs which can therefore be anticipated in particular areas and circumstances, and the kinds of assistance interventions which might be required.

National policies, objectives and standards

Policies with regard to the soliciting, acceptance and use of international assistance, including external personnel.

The authority delegated to local institutions, and the possible roles of national NGOs and outside assistance agencies.

Policies (both whether or not and how) regarding vaccinations, prophylactic distribution of drugs, the care of unaccompanied children, and salvaging of materials.

Policies and criteria for any distribution of relief: whether to be on a free, for-sale or on-credit basis; what, if any, differentiation should be encouraged within and between different population subgroups.

The particular objectives and standards which should be applied to ration scales for food and water, and any distribution of shelter materials and household supplies.

Specification of the kinds of food and other commodities which are appropriate and acceptable as donations, and those which are not.

General specifications for the kind of energy sources normally preferred for vehicles (diesel or petrol) and generators and pumps (diesel or electric).

General priorities for the restoration of infrastructure and services.

Policies and arrangements for importing emergency assistance supplies, such as arrangements for waiving fees and taxes, and for the clearance of special relief flights.

Government structures for warning and emergency response

The contact responsible for all national hazard forecasting and warning systems.

The government contact (and deputy) normally responsible for the management of emergency relief and post-disaster assistance operations in a central co-ordination body, if one exists. Contacts in individual ministries.

The address and telephone/fax/telex numbers of any national disaster co-ordination centre, and whether and how foreign donor officials will have access to the centre during emergencies.

The procedures established (at national and local levels) for assessing damage, needs and resources following the impact of a disaster.

The contacts in the national disaster management body or the sectoral ministries responsible for arranging and assuring:

· Coordination and liaison with the international community (UN system, embassies. NGOs)
· Search and rescue operations
· Post-disaster surveys and assessments
· Food supply assistance, where needed
· Medical and preventive health care
· Water supplies
· Environmental sanitation
· Emergency shelter and other relief supplies
· Communications
· Logistic services (transport, storage and handling)
· Information management (including records and reports)
· Security

Role of the national armed forces and relationship between the civil and military authorities in directing operations.

Other external and national assistance organizations

The contacts at the principal embassies and donor agencies, the potential contributions of their governments and organizations to post-disaster assistance operations, and the resources they have on immediate call locally.

The contacts at the national Red Cross/Red Crescent Society and the principal NGOs, their potential contributions to emergency and post-disaster assistance operations, and the resources (human, material, and financial) they have on immediate call.

Base-line data on each distinct disaster-prone area

Demographic details: the location, size and socio-economic characteristics of communities, including average family size, sources and levels of income, and any traditional patterns of seasonal migration.

Formal and informal leadership structures, any particular social or religious considerations, traditional community support processes at times of disaster, and any taboos.

General climatic conditions, including day and night temperatures at different times of year.

Local food habits, including weaning practices, of the various socio-economic groups.

“Normal nutritional status of children, including any normal seasonal variations.

Diseases endemic to the area, including prevailing patterns of mortality and morbidity.

Normal sources of water: sources and methods of extraction; treatment; and distribution.

Food supply systems and local production: types, seasonal production cycles and normal yields of both major crops and small gardens, and average on-farm stock retention levels.

Services operating (official and non-official): health, education, rural development, public works, and social welfare. This should include the location and specific nature of the services provided and the personnel employed.

Coverage and general condition of the infrastructure, including roads, telecommunications, and electricity supplies.

Resources: material and human

“Resources” include supplies and services which can be mobilized in-country for emergency and post-disaster assistance operations. Potential sources include government bodies, commercial companies (locally or in a neighboring country), NGOs and other aid organizations and development projects operating in or near the areas at risk.

Medical/health care 4

4 Information should be assured by WHO staff in the context of preparedness profiles issued by WHO headquarters.

Hospitals, clinics and other health facilities: number of beds, ambulances, availability of special equipment, number of trained doctors, nurses and nurses’ aides; contacts at all facilities.

Stocks and sources of medical supplies: names, addresses, and telephone/fax/telex numbers of all medical supply stores; manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and supplies; and laboratories producing vaccines and serums.

Food supplies

Location, capacities, and normal stock levels of food stores; telephone/fax/telex numbers of government marketing boards, food supply departments, commercial importers, food wholesalers, and food aid donors.

Details of existing food rationing and distribution programmes (including food-for-work), their organizational arrangements, procedures, and capacity to meet emergency needs.

Nutrition and epidemiology 5

5 Nutrition aspects may not be a priority concern in the immediate aftermath of a sudden natural disaster, but are crucial in all emergency situations of extended duration, especially droughts, famines, and in all cases involving population displacements.

Nature, location, and capacity of any nutritional rehabilitation (therapeutic feeding) activities; their organizational arrangements, procedures and capacity to meet emergency needs.

Extent and validity of any nutritional status surveys or surveillance programmes: in-country sources of nutritional expertise (with relevant field experience).

Location and capacity of epidemiological surveillance and survey expertise linked to communicable disease control programmes.

Water supplies, hygiene and environmental sanitation

Names, addresses, telephone/telex numbers of producers, large wholesalers, and retail outlets for the following types of supplies, including location and usual stock levels on inventory:

· Water pumps, tanks, pipes and fittings
· Road tankers for hire or purchase
· Lime or other chemicals for water disinfection
· Hard bar soap, detergents, and disinfectants
· Materials for establishing temporary latrines
· Supplies and equipment for vector control operations

The quantities of these supplies normally available in government stocks in specified locations.

The availability of mobile water treatment units and generators through the military or major contractors.

Sources of trained personnel and tools to undertake rapid repairs or to construct new or temporary installations.

Emergency shelter and relief materials

Names, addresses, telephone/telex numbers of producers, large wholesalers, and retail outlets for the following types of supplies, including location and usual stock levels on inventory:

· Heavy-duty tents, tarpaulins, thick polythene sheeting
· Corrugated roofing sheets, lumber, cement
· Blankets
· Cooking pots and utensils (household size, and institutional size for communal kitchens)

The quantities of these supplies normally available in government stocks in specified locations.

Construction equipment

Names, addresses, telephone/telex numbers of road and building contractors, including their approximate availabilities of bulldozers, drag-lines, hoists, cranes, hydraulic jacks, mobile generators, and pumps.

Contact points of government sources for the same types of equipment, for example, within the Ministry of Public Works or Defense.


Contacts within the responsible authorities for establishing telecommunications services, including the repair of normal systems and the installation of temporary radio networks, where needed.

Policies concerning the use of communications equipment by international teams and aid organizations.

Logistics systems and facilities

Logistics considerations include details of normal transport routes and capacities to and within the disaster-prone areas, and knowledge of the specific logistical problems likely to be faced moving supplies following a disaster.


· Have copies of the best available maps

· Identify essential road links and best alternative routes

· Mark potential constraints on truck traffic (such as bridge load capacities and ferry movement capacities), and any points vulnerable to occurrences such as flooding or landslides

Trucking capacity

· Government fleets: the number and condition of trucks of specified types and capacities in different departments and locations which might be available to transport relief supplies

· Commercial capacity: private transport contractors able to operate to or within the areas concerned, including details of their fleets, the locations of their offices and maintenance facilities, and normal rates


· Track gauges, wagon capacities, and any loading constraints on various lines

· Daily movement capacities on various lines, and the numbers of locomotives and wagons which might be available during each season

· Reliability and operational constraints, including any feasible measures to improve performance

Sea and river ports

· Harbor depths, quay lengths, cargo handling equipment
· Daily discharge capacity, and seasonal patterns of exports and imports
· Size of covered and open storage areas, and amount normally available at different seasons
· Normal offtake capacities: road and rail.

Coastal and river craft

· Government craft: the numbers and condition of boats, tugs and barges (of specified types and capacities) in different locations which might be available for rescue operations or to transport relief supplies

· Commercial capacity: contacts with private shipping contractors able to operate in the areas concerned, including details of their fleets and normal rates

Airports and air-strips

· The precise locations and the length, width, surface and load classification of runways in the affected areas

· Largest type of aircraft able to operate

· Fuel availability (avgas and jet fuel)

· Navigation and landing aids, and hours open for flying

· Cargo handling equipment and storage capacity

Aircraft and air transport

· Government: number and types of aircraft and helicopters likely to be available to transport personnel and relief supplies; the approximate costs of operation of military and other government aircraft and helicopters

· National airline and other companies: number and types of aircraft and helicopters likely to be available to transport personnel and relief supplies; approximate charter costs

Storage and handling

· Government warehouses: the location, size, and type of stores in different areas which might be available for relief supplies; the general condition of the stores, level of security, access to road and rail transport, the availability of pallets, hand trucks, and forklifts, and the adequacy of staff and record systems

· Private warehouses: as above for stores which might be requisitioned or rented.

Fuel supplies (diesel and petrol)

· The locations, capacities, and normal stock levels of government and commercial fuel storage depots; the arrangements by which fuel can be drawn or delivered from those depots.

Q. The information referred to in the checklist must be assembled from a variety of sources. Where would you be able to obtain the information requested under each main heading?


Disaster profile of country _________________________________________
National policies, objectives and standards ___________________________
Gov’t structures for warning/post-disaster response _____________________
Other external and national assistance organizations ___________________
Base-line data on each distinct disaster-prone area _____________________

Human and material resources:

Medical/health care ____________________________________________
Food supplies ________________________________________________
Nutrition and epidemiology ______________________________________
Water supplies, hygiene and environmental sanitation ________________
Emergency shelter and relief materials ____________________________
Construction equipment ________________________________________

Communications ________________________________________________

Logistics systems and facilities:

Roads ______________________________________________________
Trucking capacity _____________________________________________
Railways ____________________________________________________
Sea and river ports ____________________________________________
Coastal and river craft _________________________________________
Airports and air-strips __________________________________________
Aircraft and air transport _______________________________________
Storage and handling __________________________________________
Fuel supplies _________________________________________________

Q. In your opinion what agency should be responsible for collecting, up-dating and communicating this information.