Disaster Risk Reduction
Children and Women in Humanitarian Situations in South Asia
UNICEF Assistance to Children and Women Affected by Emergencies in South Asia and the Strategic Role of UNICEF Regional Office
Given the stark reality described above, UNICEF must be ready to respond to both ongoing and new emergencies across the countries of South and East Asia and the Pacific. This is possible through UNICEF’s large field presence in 8 Country Offices across the region. These Country Offices have primary organizational responsibility for emergency preparedness and response. Indeed most emergencies are considered medium to large and the response is organized and implemented by the Country Office with support from the Regional Office. A small number of emergencies are ‘global’ in scale (in South Asia the latest ones are Indian Tsunami in 2004, Pakistan Kashmir Earthquake in 2005, and Pakistan Floods in 2010) and these exceptions require organizational wide mobilization of resources and personnel.
UNICEF’s role in emergencies is to provide urgent life-saving support to all in need in an impartial, neutral way while building sustainable early recovery towards development. To achieve this, UNICEF Country Offices work closely with national governments, local non-governmental organizations as well as international partners. UNICEF provides rapid emergency response in areas relevant to its mandate in line with the Core Commitment of Children in Humanitarian Action (CCCs) including: health, nutrition, child protection, WASH, and education as well as support to the prevention of gender-based violence and logistics and supply, communications and advocacy components of its humanitarian response. Given UNICEF’s long term presence in all countries of the region, UNICEF is also closely involved in emergency preparedness and capacity building at national level, as well as early recovery. This emergency, early recovery and development focus helps UNICEF ensure that responses are built with government and partners in sustainable ways.
Within the humanitarian architecture developed within the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) which regroups key non-Governmental UN and non-UN actors, UNICEF is also the global cluster lead in WASH and Nutrition, the sub-cluster lead for Child Protection and co-chairs the global Cluster for Education with Save the Children. This responsibility implies that in all major emergencies UNICEF must be ready to lead the broader humanitarian community in these areas, beyond its own response capacity.
Regional Office function in Emergency