Angola: Emergency Preparedness & Response
Humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation programmes are usually implemented on a temporary basis to save people’s lives, reduce suffering and help the victims of catastrophes get back on their feet. These programmes respond to a current crisis and are only provided until the affected country or region is reasonably capable of working independently. Humanitarian interventions are most frequently organized in the event of earthquakes, floods, famines caused by drought or war, and so on.
In recent years, more and more disasters have been caused or largely influenced by extreme weather fluctuations. During recent years, People in Need repeatedly provided assistance to victims of drought in Ethiopia, flooding in Cambodia and Sri Lanka and extreme winters in Mongolia.
A successful rescue of people suffering from an acute crisis is crucially dependent on speed, good on-site assessment of the situation and the availability of sufficient funds in the very first phase of assistance. People in Need has recently been able to respond successfully and quickly in particular thanks to the Immediate Reaction Humanitarian Aid Fund set up from the contributions donated by the Club of Friends.
Typical humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation activities include:
- provision of shelter (temporary shelters, distribution of tents and tarpaulins),
- food distribution,
- provision of water and sanitation,
- distribution of medicines, blankets and other items,
- giving medical treatment,
- establishing refugee camps,
- offering temporary education and psychosocial assistance to disaster victims.
The next phase lays an emphasis on regional economic reconstruction (community work programmes, restoration of sources of livelihood), and then on the restoration of basic infrastructure, (e.g. repairing destroyed schools, health centres, houses, irrigation channels, etc.). At the same time, we consider it essential to work in the long term with the most vulnerable communities and build their resilience and ability to endure such disasters with the least possible loss of life and damage to health and property.
During all phases of assistance, maximum involvement of local people is of the essence to ensure that the disaster victims are not just passive recipients of aid, but rather those who, first and foremost, help themselves. Beneficiaries of aid may acquire material assistance for themselves in the local markets (using vouchers or funds they receive), while in other situations purchasing is performed centrally but in the region in question, ensuring that relief funds remain in that region, and distributed by our on-site teams. Humanitarian assistance is provided solely on the basis of need, without any bias towards the members of a particular ethnic group, religion or one of the parties to a conflict.
The follow-up project introduced the Children’s Hygiene and Sanitation Training (CHAST) approach for the existing child-friendly spaces to promote personal hygiene among children. The goal of the intervention is to prevent the emergence and spread of illnesses among refugees threatening their lives and further deterioration of already challenging situation.
Majority of the refugees has been already relocated from two reception centres and Dundo town to a settlement in Lóvua, where they were divided into small newly built villages. People in Need is using its experience with community approach to sanitation (Community Led Total Sanitation - CLTS) and Communitarian Water Management Model (MOGECA) which were successfully implemented as a part of development program in villages in the province of Bié in central Angola. Over 7,000 refugees have been already assisted thanks to this intervention.