Emergency Coordination and Response
UNICEF participated in the central disaster relief coordination committee (CNDRCC) meetings called by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) and the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), and IASC disaster coordination meetings called by OCHA to plan emergency relief response in a collaborative manner with other agencies. MOHA is the nodal ministry for coordinating and providing policy guidance to all agencies involved in humanitarian assistance. NRCS, with its network of offices and humanitarian relief workers at national and sub-national levels, is the main national implementing partner through which emergency relief assistance is channelled. At the district level, a District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRC) headed by the Chief District Officer coordinates all humanitarian relief activities. Among UN agencies, OCHA coordinates with all UN agencies, bilateral and INGOs in the field for humanitarian and relief activities. At the district level, UNICEF field offices were actively involved in coordination meetings called by DDRCs and OCHA, and took the lead in coordinating sector responses in water and sanitation, education, nutrition and child protection.
With the cluster approach to humanitarian assistance formalized in September 2008 by the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC), UNICEF is taking the cluster lead in nutrition, water and sanitation, education (together with Save the Children Fund (SCF)), and sub cluster lead in child protection (under protection cluster), HIV/AIDS (under health cluster) and co-lead for health cluster to coordinate with the cluster partners for emergency preparedness planning and response activities. UNICEF organized training for government, NGO and other cluster partners to enhance their knowledge and skills on the emergency programme for water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education in emergencies, emergency nutrition and child protection. The Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan has been integrated into the annual work plan of each programme area, both at UNICEF’s country office and field office levels. UNICEF supported government and other partners to develop Inter-Agency Contingency Plans at national level and District Contingency Plans at six districts in terai prone to floods. In particular, it is noteworthy to mention the fact that, compared to previous years, partners working in nutrition, WASH, education, and child protection could respond to the needs of children at a much faster pace indicating an increased level of preparedness.
Working with more than 39 national and international partners, and ensuring cooperation with the Government of Nepal, UNICEF was able to respond to the humanitarian needs of 3 million people, including 700,000 children, throughout 2009. Implementation of UNICEF Emergency program is based on three prone strategies: (i) building coordination among different agencies at both national and field level for emergency preparedness and response, (ii) supporting partners at national and district level to develop emergency preparedness and response plan to cover each of the sectoral results area and (iii) contributing to capacity development of partners for emergency programming.
UNICEF continued to stockpile pre-positioned relief materials at different strategic places, enabling it to provide timely and appropriate humanitarian response to address immediate needs of people affected by emergency and natural disasters.