Disaster Relief

A considerable body of research exists on disaster and relief recommendations. We are drawing upon these to extract those components that are in-kind specific.

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InterAction’s PVO Standards
Disaster response activities are mentioned in section 7.5 of InterAction’s Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Standards. Three points are made to address this area of humanitarian work, asking members to be non-discriminatory, non-political, and to act in co-ordination with other organisations. InterAction recommends Sphere Project’s standards, asking members who are responding to disasters, to “be guided and informed by the Sphere Project’s Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response.”

The Sphere Project’s Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response
The Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response and InterAction founded the Sphere Project. Sphere has published a handbook, which contains the Humanitarian Charter, a set of principles to follow when assisting persons affected by disaster, and an associated set of Minimum Standards in essential areas of disaster response. This Charter was developed in order to enhance the quality of aid received and increase the accountability of the donor organisations. The Charter focuses on the five areas of water supply and sanitation, nutrition, food aid, shelter and site planning, and health services. In addition, Sphere provides training sessions in which they instil the values of the Charter from the ground up, beginning with the relief workers in the field.

Humanitarian Accountability Partnership–International
Formerly the Humanitarian Ombudsman Project, The Humanitarian Accountability Project aims to strengthen accountability towards those affected by crisis situations, and to facilitate improved performance within the humanitarian sector. An interagency initiative that came about as a monitoring body to see that organisations follow codes of conduct, such as those established by the Red Cross and the Sphere Project. A two-year pilot body is conducting three study trials, with the first taking place in Sierra Leone. The Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response and ALNAP are supporters of this project.

Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief
The IFRC formulated the Code of Conduct for The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief. This code seeks to maintain high standards of behaviour and improve efficiency of relief organisations, while maintaining independence. It is a voluntary code that may be adopted by any organisation, and it requires self-enforcement of the codes and standards. The code is sponsored by eight of the largest non-governmental humanitarian agencies. These being Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Relief Services, International Save the Children Alliance, Lutheran World Federation, Oxfam, The World Council of Churches, The International Committee of the Red Cross, Members of the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response.

Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP)
ALNAP, founded in 1997, is a worldwide network committed to improving the accountability of humanitarian action through methods such as sharing lessons; identifying common problems; and, where appropriate, building consensus on procedures utilised by organisations. The ALNAP website has a database that holds over 360 evaluative reports of humanitarian action, and another that brings together key information resources on issues relevant to accountability.

A guide for Effective Aid – Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)
The South American branch of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has prepared a set of guidelines to assist relief organisations in sending effective aid to support disasters. The guidelines advise on what a relief organisation should do immediately after a disaster. Also listed are items that organisations are discouraged from sending.

IBM Crisis Response Group
This relief organisation responds to major global disaster events, and works closely with many of the UN agencies, heads of state, and private sector companies in co-ordinating response and recovery efforts. This document gives advice and lists some basic guidelines for those working in the disaster areas. They suggest that aid workers should be educated in “the cultural standards, social customs and political operations of the country you are working in”. They also stress the need for organisations to “build partnerships with international organisations”, and to “work within the parameters set by on-site government officials.”

Aid workers are given practical advice, such as to protect their own health, to “gain an understanding of regulations along with local and national customs”, and to “think of the political, social, and economic consequences” of their actions.

Minimum Standard Rates of Assistance to Victims of Disasters
This document, published on the website of the Department of Social Welfare in the Philippines, gives recommendations on food, water and shelter provision for those affected by disasters, and those distressed or displaced in crisis situations.

The People in Aid Code of Good Practice in the Management and Support of Aid Personnel
The People in Aid network of 50+ international relief, development and advocacy agencies has launched an updated Code of Good Practice in the management and support of aid personnel. This code aims to help improve the quality of assistance provided by international and host country staff to communities affected by poverty and disaster. Code supporters worldwide include ACORD, World Vision, Oxfam, Save The Children, Red Cross, Mercy Corps, International Rescue Committee.


Global issues

Children, youth and family welfare; Community development; Disasters and humanitarian...show all (3)