Humanitarian crises following natural disasters, epidemiological outbreaks or large-scale conflict trigger two phases of emergency:
i) Immediate response: evacuation, registration with the authorities, search & rescue, burying the deceased, managing & re-establishing logistical routes, co-ordination & communication, damage reconnaissance, triage of the wounded and needs assessment.
Highest priority aid provision include food, water, shelter, counseling, medical assistance and sanitation. Assistance is short-term and aimed at sustaining life.
ii) Continuing recovery: re-establishment of sustainable livelihoods, restoration of infrastructure, ongoing psychological support, repair of housing/buildings, clearing of rubble/debris, rehabilitation of injury, and monitoring and evaluation.
This phase is about restoring livelihoods and helping communities back on their feet.
The impacts of humanitarian crises are immeasurable. In some cases, weeks turn into years as makeshift shelters expand into permanent camps for internally displaced people and refugees. Access to community services such as schooling and healthcare then become necessary, whilst the need for an income proliferates in informal employment and barter economies. Targeted risk mitigation reduces vulnerability whilst rapid response reduces impact. The combination of the two is key to community resilience when disasters strike.