Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Emergency interventions

The humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan demonstrated that the concept of accountability to affected people (AAP) is firmly established on the agenda of humanitarian agencies.[1] It also showed that agencies could still benefit from better practical ways to achieve it in practice. Within the first month of the response, a number of major initiatives had been launched, including establishing an IASC AAP Coordinator position, building accountability activities into the work plan of the Humanitarian Coordinator and individual agencies deploying specialist staff and developing accountability activities. The operating context in the Philippines created genuine opportunities for enhancing accountability to affected people.…
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)’s Task Team on Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) aims to promote a system-wide ‘culture of accountability’ within humanitarian organisations. A systems approach to AAP – including Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) – should, in theory, increase the impact of individual agency efforts, offer resource efficiencies and provide more coherent and accountable services to the people the system seeks to assist. The declaration of a Level 3 emergency in the Philippines in late 2013 presented an opportunity to test this theory in practice. Following the declaration, an AAP coordinator was deployed (the first such…
Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) made landfall in the Philippines on 8 November 2013. Just over a year on, this article reflects on what the World Health Organisation (WHO) – the co-lead for the health cluster alongside the Philippines Department of Health (DoH) – has learnt, how these lessons have influenced the response over time and what this means for responses to health emergencies in the future. The article is based on internal information from WHO’s own work, though it is hoped that the main findings will also be useful to other agencies. Responding to multiple disasters The first…
Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on 8 November 2013, cementing the position of the Philippines as one of the countries most at risk from natural hazards. Within days of the disaster the Emergency Relief Coordinator formally activated a system-wide level 3 (L3) response – a designation marking the highest level of humanitarian crisis. In responding to the needs of 14 million affected people, the Haiyan response became the first large-scale relief effort for a sudden-onset disaster since the Inter-Agency Standing Committee protocols under the Transformative Agenda were adopted, setting the parameters for improved collective action in humanitarian emergencies. Scaling up Accompanying…
This article questions whether the humanitarian cluster system’s mechanisms for strategic thinking really allow plans to be adapted as situations change, with a particular focus on the Shelter Cluster during the Haiti earthquake response Using strategy documents, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)’s Financial Tracking Service and minutes of the Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) of the Haiti Shelter Cluster (the coordination structure for shelter agencies), we ask whether different decisions could have been made in early 2010. The article seeks to determine whether more questions could have been asked about the assumptions underpinning the response; learn from…
In eight out of the past ten years, there has been drought somewhere in the Horn of Africa, affecting nearly 70 million people. Indeed, the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia suffer from water scarcity on an almost annual basis. In this context, water trucking has played a pivotal role in addressing basic water needs. It is a coping mechanism during ‘typical’ dry seasons, based on existing private sector water trucks and vendors who sell water to those who are able to pay for it. In times of drought, direct water trucking is a common relief…
 There are more than 45 million displaced people in the world, 80% of them women and children.[1] Disasters, natural and manmade, typically destroy medical facilities, displace medical personnel and erode support structures. In these circumstances an unplanned pregnancy can be fatal, and between a quarter and a half of maternal deaths in crisis situations are due to complications from unsafe abortions.[2] Family planning and post-abortion care are proven, essential and cost-effective interventions that save women's lives.[3] Nonetheless, they have been long neglected in emergencies in favour of conventional priorities such as water, sanitation, shelter, basic healthcare and food. This article…
Inter-Cluster Coordination (ICC) requires clusters to work together to identify and reduce gaps and duplication, establish joint priorities and address cross-cutting issues in order to improve humanitarian response.[1] Information sharing is a first step, but ICC groups can also establish joint assessments and indicators, align training opportunities, set priorities, make recommendations to Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs) and develop proposals for the Central Emergency Response Fund and other funding pools and engage in other activities. In a recent evaluation of global cluster performance, ICC was judged to be 'ineffective in most cases and there is little integration of cross-cutting issues'.[2] Coordination…
Humanitarian financing has come a long way in recent years. The most notable innovation – multi-year humanitarian financing – has the potential to be as transformative as the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), and could influence the future direction of humanitarian funding globally. Alongside other country offices, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in Yemen is piloting this new approach. This article outlines the evolution of DFID's thinking on humanitarian financing in protracted complex emergencies, the assumptions underpinning the shift to multi-year funding and the expectations and challenges in Yemen. DFID Yemen's shift to a multi-year approach DFID's…
Yemen is beset by a constellation of overt and latent conflicts perpetuated by aggrieved local actors and aggravated by both the central government and regional and global powers. In parallel, localised conflicts have taken on dangerous new dimensions and involve new stakeholders. As armed non-state actors gain a greater foothold in the country conflict has expanded, precipitating multiple humanitarian crises in 'under-governed' areas beyond the reach of the central government and most aid agencies. Delivery of humanitarian relief to affected populations has been frustrated by the presence of non-state actors wary of aid agencies' agendas; such groups often lack a…
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