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close this bookHandbook for Emergencies - Second Edition (UNHCR, 1999, 414 p.)
close this folder5. Initial Assessment, Immediate Response
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentOrganizing the Assessment
View the documentImmediate Response
View the documentProtection and Material Assistance
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes


Annex 1 - Checklist for Initial Assessment

This checklist is based on a refugee influx, it should be modified in the light of the actual nature of the emergency.

Who are the refugees, their numbers, and pattern of arrival

Approximately how many refugees are there?

Where have the refugees come from? Why?

What is the rate of arrival? Is it likely to increase or decrease? a What is the total number likely to arrive?

What is the location of the arrival points and of the sites where people are settling (latitude and longitude)?

Are the refugees arriving as individuals or in groups? Are these family groups, clans, tribal, ethnic or village groups?

Are families, village groups and communities intact?

How are the refugees organized? Are there group or community leaders?

How are the refugees travelling - on foot, in vehicles?

What is the gender ratio of the population?

What is the age profile of the population? Can a breakdown in age be given - under five's, age 5 to 17 years, 18 years and over?

How many unaccompanied minors are there? What is their condition?

What was the social and economic situation of the refugees prior to their flight? What are their skills and languages? What is their ethnic and cultural background?

Are there individuals or groups with special social problems? Are there particular groups made more vulnerable by the situation? (e.g. the disabled, separated minors or elderly people in need of support)

What are the basic diet, shelter, and sanitation practices of the refugees?

What is the security situation within the population - is there a need for separation between different groups, are there armed groups within the population?

What is the formal legal status of the refugees?

Characteristics of the location

What are the physical characteristics of the area where the refugees are located?

What is the soil, topography and drainage?

Is there enough space for those there and those likely to arrive?

Is there all season accessibility?

Can the refugees access relief assistance from where they are located?

What is the vegetation cover?

Will the refugees need to use wood for fuel and shelter?

Approximately how many people already live in the local area?

Who owns (or has usage rights on) the land?

Is there grazing land and are there potential areas for cultivation?

What is the actual or likely impact on the local population and what is their attitude and that of the local authorities towards the refugees?

Are there security problems?

What environmental factors must be taken into account (e.g. fragility of the local environment and extent to which local community relies on it; how rapidly might it be degraded by the refugees, proximity to protected areas)?

What is the condition of the local population? If assistance is provided to the refugees, should the local population also be assisted?

Health status and basic problems

Are there significant numbers of sick or injured persons, is there excess mortality?

Are there signs of malnutrition?

Do the refugees have access to sufficient quantities of safe water?

Do the refugees have food stocks, for how long will they last?

Do the refugees have adequate shelter?

Are adequate sanitary facilities available?

Do the refugees have basic domestic items?

Is there sufficient fuel for cooking and heating?

Resources, spontaneous arrangements and assistance being delivered

What type and quantity of possessions have the refugees brought with them?

What arrangements have the refugees already made to meet their most immediate needs?

What assistance is already being provided by the local population, the government, UN organizations and other organizations, is the assistance adequate, sustainable?

Is the present assistance likely to increase, continue, decrease?

What is the government's policy on assistance to the refugees?

Are there any major constraints likely to affect an assistance operation?

Has contingency planning for this type of emergency been undertaken?

What coordination arrangements are required?

Means to Deliver Protection and Assistance

Can effective implementing arrangements be made quickly and locally, if not, what are the alternatives?

Is there already an identified refugee leadership with whom it will be possible to coordinate the delivery of protection and assistance?

What are the logistical needs and how can they be met?

Where will the necessary supplies come from?

How will they reach the refugees?

What storage is needed, where and how?

Are there essential items which can only be obtained outside the region and whose early supply will be of critical importance (e.g. food, trucks?)

What are the needs for UNHCR and implementing partner staff and staff support?