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close this bookRefugee Emergencies. A Community-Based Approach (UNHCR, 1996, 142 p.)
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Annex No. 9

Duties and Responsibilities of Community Services Agencies in an Emergency

1. Under the supervision and technical guidance and support of UNHCR, NGOs and/or governmental agencies contracted to deliver social services, will carry out the following activities.

2. At the initial stage of the emergency, the focus of social services will be to respond to the needs, queries and immediate concerns as expressed by the refugees either individually or through their leaders.

The agencies will:

(i) Set-up information and referral services in a central location in each camp. The center will be known as Social/Community Services Centre. The Centre is where:

(a) Persons who have found lost children can report;

(b) Parents who have lost children can come to enquire;

(c) People who require information about various services (i.e. where and how to get food or non-food items, transportation to go back to their village or city of residence, other problems etc.,) can be assisted.

(d) Families can initiate tracing of missing family members.

(ii) Work in close co-operation and collaboration with refugee leaders to mobilize and encourage maximum refugee participation in all activities.

(iii) With the assistance of refugee leaders, as well as through community workers:

(a) Identify all vulnerable groups without support through house-to-house surveys;

(b) Search for unaccompanied children and adolescents including those living with families other than their own or in any other care arrangement;

(c) Identify community resources that can be mobilized to establish community self-help activities.

(iv) Set up an outreach programme to monitor the situation of all identified vulnerable refugees.

(v) Ensure that all children identified as unaccompanied in accordance with UNHCR Guidelines on Refugee Children are registered, documented and that appropriate care arrangements are being made while tracing efforts continue.

(vi) Undertake tracing and family reunification in accordance with guidelines provided.

(vii) In collaboration with medical facilities, follow-up on medical evacuation cases (without support).

(viii) Facilitate the planning and development of appropriate assistance programmes on a regular basis, undertake a socio-economic and demographic survey. The composition and socio-economic profile of the camps' residents should be updated on regular basis.

(ix) With the help of teachers from within the community and other volunteers, organize cultural, recreational and mental development activities for children.

(x) Assist the community in establishing cultural and religious centers.

(xi) Submit brief narrative and statistical reports to the UNHCR office on the type of services provided, achievements, obstacles, etc., on a regular basis.