Emergency preparedness and response


UNICEF in action


UNICEF in action

© UNICEF South Sudan/2011/Sokol
A woman uses a hand washing facility set up by UNICEF as part of its hygiene and sanitation response to people displaced by inter-communal fighting in Pibor, Jonglei State.

In line with the Core Commitments for children, which promote predictable, effective and timely collective humanitarian action, UNICEF is using the following strategic approaches to improve emergency preparedness and response in South Sudan:

  1. Preparedness: UNICEF’s response capacity owes a great deal to its preparedness arrangements, which include a contingency plan developed in coordination with field offices; pre-positioning of essential emergency items in disaster-prone states; institutional partnerships with key organizations that help to improve coordination; emergency training and capacity building; and rapid deployment of pre-screened consultants.
  2. Response: When an emergency occurs, UNICEF moves swiftly, joining a coordinated effort with UN and NGO partners to conduct rapid assessments to identify priority humanitarian action for children, and to formulate adequate response plans.

© UNICEF South Sudan/2008/Pirozzi
Staff load UNICEF education supplies onto a boat before it heads to a village school near Malakal, Upper Nile State. Poor transport infrastructure remains a huge challenge in South Sudan, and getting essential supplies to communities in need, especially t

The UNICEF Emergency Preparedness and Response Programme has contributed to the following key achievements:

  • Cluster Lead agency for WASH, nutrition, education and child protection. This has been critical in ensuring a timely and children-focused response to displacements of about 100,000 from Abyei in 2011, and managing the transition of over 350,000 returnees and the conflict-related displacement of nearly a million people over the past three years.
  • 37 emergency response operations supported during the course of 2011 providing assistance to over 300,000 people through Non-food items (NFIs), WASH, health, nutrition, child protection and education interventions.
  • Biannual contingency planning to ensure that UNICEF is ready to respond to any emergency in the country.
  • Management of emergency core pipeline of UNICEF led clusters (nutrition, WASH, education) for all partners. More than US$11 million worth of emergency supplies have been dispatched to various partners and emergency stock, valued at more than US$4 million, pre-positioned in partners’ warehouses.
  • Institutional capacity building of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management (MoHADM).


Preparing and responding to emergencies in South Sudan has many challenges. Multiple emergencies in different parts of the country occurring at the same time, coupled with high transport costs and inaccessible roads and airstrips during the long rainy season, combine to create a difficult work environment.

Thousands of people have been left vulnerable after repeated crises and their resilience to further shocks is now low.

Resources are stretched thin across the region, with communities simultaneously facing several threats from different sources such as displacement due to violence and natural disasters.



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