Cover Image
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 11. UN response to disasters 1
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPrincipal elements and actions in response to a sudden disaster
View the documentSitreps - exchanging information with UNDRO
View the documentAlert message and field sitreps
View the documentThe importance of coordination and information

The importance of coordination and information

Coordination is even more important in emergency assistance operations than in development work: lives might be at risk, logistic and other resources are likely to be limited, and decisions are made quickly. There are many possibilities for duplicating effort, wasting resources, and leaving gaps in both geographic and sectoral coverage.

Timely, reliable information is crucial to planning and implementing emergency and post-disaster assistance operations, and to mobilizing national and international resources. The regular dissemination of relevant information is a precondition for effective coordination and co-operation - at national and local levels - between sectors and between Government, operational agencies, and donors.

Key action points in co-ordination and information management

Maintain frequent, direct contacts with government focal point, operational departments, donors, and NGOs.

Review within the UN-DMT and discuss with the government focal point whether help from the resident coordinator or UN-DMT is required in:

· Compiling and analyzing information and preparing reports on needs for and use of international assistance

· Establishing and operating more comprehensive management information systems in support of the responsible government authorities

· Convening information and co-ordination meetings involving government bodies, donors, NGOs, and the UN organizations and agencies.

Ensure the convening of regular, broad-based co-ordination meetings (probably weekly); encourage constructive discussion; promote consensus on actions by all concerned; provide secretariat service, if required.

Specify the information management functions to be fulfilled by the resident co-ordinator and UN-DMT, and the resources (staff, equipment, office space, budget) required.

Initiate the needed information systems and services using existing staff and facilities; inform UNDRO, the regional bureau, and local donor representatives of requirements to develop and continue.

Establish an emergency information and co-ordination (EIC) support unit, where needed, as a collaborative UN-DMT effort; encourage all UN-DMT members to second staff, co-operate in mobilizing other needed resources, and use the facilities.

Disseminate information regularly to all concerned government departments, donors and NGOs; fax copies to UNDRO.

Encourage all concerned to be consistent in the use of agreed criteria, standards, and terminology, and to harmonize reporting periods to the extent feasible.

Help direct the attention of NGOs to areas and activities where they can make the greatest contribution (not necessarily in the most affected areas).

Q. In your position with a UN agency what would you do in the event of the most likely disaster to strike your country in terms of the following:

A. Learning of a warning of an imminent disaster? _____________________
Would you be on the UN-DMT? ____________________________________
Do you know the UN personnel security plan? What would you do? ________
What would be your contribution to the field sitrep to UNDRO? ___________

What would be your role in an assessment? Concerning which sectors? ____