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1 HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS THINK TANK KEY LESSONS TO LEARN FOR TYPHOON HAIYAN RESPONSE BY MEAL Humanitarian Technical Working Group, Save the Children NOVEMBER 2013

2 KEY LESSONS TO LEARN FOR TYPHOON HAIYAN RESPONSE By MEAL Humanitarian Technical Working Group, Save the Children / november 2013 INTRODUCTION When the International and Humanitarian community is focused on the best possible response to Cyclone Haiyan in the Philippines, it is essential to step back and take into account lessons learnt from previous humanitarian responses. Answering in an efficient way to humanitarian disaster requires defining simple but essential principles which will guarantee the quality of humanitarian response, when humanitarian staffs are overwhelmed by the disaster itself and the emergency of the situation. Save the Children s Humanitarian Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) Working Group produced a short synthesis of the consolidated lessons identified in several recent key Save the Children and external reports from previous responses that are likely to apply to the response to Cyclone Haiyan. A coordinated and coherent action of all humanitarian actors, international and local ones, is a guaranty for the quality and efficiency of the response. If we all bear in mind the 11 principles below, we will not only answer in a quicker way but in a more lasting and inclusive way, helping local communities to initiate their country s recovery. MICHEL MAIETTA Associated Research Fellow at IRIS, Head of the Humanitarian Affairs Unit at Save the Children 1

3 KEY LESSONS TO LEARN FOR TYPHOON HAIYAN RESPONSE Below are some key lessons from recent evaluations and meta analysis documents produced within the humanitarian sector, which may be relevant to the Typhoon Haiyan response in the Philippines. This document was produced by the Save the Children MEAL Humanitarian Technical Working Group (HWTG) to assist those working directly in the response and those supporting it remotely. 1. International response must systematically work with existing national capacities and response coordination mechanisms (IA RTE Cyclone Kestana; Tsunami Evaluation Coalition Synthesis Response; ALNAP Flood Disasters). Actors must coordinate with Inter Agency Standing Committee/Humanitarian Country Team, the Government and National Disaster Coordination Council, and local government units. In some past responses, coordination has functioned as two parallel systems one for international response and one for national actors. Save the Children must engage appropriately in all coordination mechanisms which may evolve as the response develops in the coming weeks as roles and responsibilities are assigned. An overall understanding (through better coordination) of other agencies plans contributes to a more positive impact. Coordination at both national, municipal and community levels is absolutely necessary for nationwide coordination to be effective. In most responses, local actors are the first responders. Response must use pre existing links where possible, enabling, facilitating and supporting local actors. The response must take into account local structures, communicate with local communities and be accountable to them. 2. The affected community must be able to hold responders to account and own the response (Tsunami Evaluation Coalition Synthesis Report; ALNAP Urban Disasters). The affected community must be encouraged to exercise ownership over the response, to ensure they have decision making power and control at various levels. This leads to a more contextually appropriate and higher quality response, and more effective interventions. In order to achieve this, the affected community must have accurate information about the response actions and policies of Save the Children. They must also have mechanisms through which their voice can be heard and their 2

4 influence felt. Whilst accountability to donors, media and public is important, it must not be at the expense of accountability to the community and to other responders. Where clarity on control and authorities in urban settings is unclear, it can be helpful to map political structures, power relations and interests at the beginning of an intervention to guide engagement sensitively and to ensure support local ownership. A gap in communication with affected populations was identified by Groupe URD, where it was not seen as a strategic issue from the onset of the response to recent typhoons and storms. Group URD highlighted that proper consultation at early stages of intervention with local civil society groups can significantly facilitate the dialogue between aid agencies and the affected populations. 3. Quality of the response is key it must conform to the needs of the affected population (Tsunami Evaluation Coalition Synthesis Report, 2007). Focusing on the quality of the response requires a realistic judgement about what can be achieved with available funds and the length of time it will take, considering all constraints. The biggest determinant of quality is whether it is appropriate to the needs of the community. As the response moves away from the relief phase, quality becomes increasingly dependent on understanding the increasingly complicated needs context and ensuring accountable practices with those affected. Unless affected people are involved (and not merely consulted) in determining their needs and in participating in project design and management, the impact of emergency or long term interventions is likely to be limited. 4. Needs assessment strategies and data should be shared and coordinated (Inter Agency RTE Cyclone Kestana; ALNAP Flood Disasters). Achieving a balance between individual agencies and coordinated cluster approaches for needs assessments is critical to ensure effective coordination and efficiencies. Use standard templates and information management procedures wherever possible. ALNAP note that flood response generally better meets requirements where assessment is an ongoing process and is responsive to changing conditions. Beneficiary needs as well as capacities grew in range and complexity over time, making the typical one size fits all solution of standard kits less appropriate over time. ALNAP also note the importance of needs assessments going beyond current 3

5 needs to assess structural causes of vulnerability as soon as possible, to ensure the response interventions have the greatest impact. 5. Targeting must be flexible enough to adapt to different phases and complexities (ALNAP Flood Disasters; ALNAP Urban Disasters). A targeting strategy needs to be flexible enough to adapt to different interventions and different phases as different patterns of vulnerability emerge. Therefore, effective monitoring that enables ongoing assessment of vulnerability is critical. For instance, in some previous flood responses in other countries, people whose homes were not inundated were not necessarily included in targeted approaches despite high livelihoods needs. Assessment and targeting approaches must be relevant to urban complexity. Community members need to be involved in definitions of vulnerability to ensure their appropriateness, but these must also be triangulated to ensure balance. Consideration should be taken to ensure that the most socially marginalised people are not overlooked or excluded by targeting (for instance, cross border migrants, people engaged in informal activities). Assessment of need must look at different priority areas that have been most severely affected. However, it must also take into account that the most vulnerable groups may be spread across a diverse geographical area. ALNAP states that in urban contexts neighbourhood and community are not necessarily interchangeable words. Focusing interventions at the neighbour level can help deliver more relevant programmes. However, care must be taken to ensure assumptions are not made that neighbourhoods and communities are overlapping geographical entities. 6. Ensure children s needs are not overlooked by the broader response (SC s role in Disaster Management in High and Middle Income Countries; ALNAP Urban Disasters). It is noted that across many middle income contexts, children and their particular needs are often overlooked in responses, even though the state may have well established disaster management structures. Save the Children should focus on results for children and should be commensurate with the risks they face. These risks are related both to their needs and to the capacity of themselves, their community and society to meet these needs. 4

6 The establishment of Child Protection Committees was highlighted as good practice by SC s External Evaluation Report on the Post Typhoon Ketsana response. It was observed that the CPCs were valuable in achieving their purpose i.e. to protect vulnerable children in evacuation centres and the emergency context. Where it is appropriate and feasible to link with longer term development programmes, these CPCs can provide an excellent platform for addressing child protection and rights issues in society. ALNAP state that violence against women and girls in particular can increase after a disaster. Whilst the limitations of our scope may prevent an active role in prevention, we can adopt a strong advocacy role towards duty bearers. 7. Quick and effective recovery depends significantly on how quickly livelihoods are restored (ALNAP Flood Disasters; ALNAP Urban Disasters). Helping people to protect their assets during and after a flood not only makes it easier for them to recover quickly but also reduces future vulnerability and poverty. Key to this is ensuring affected people are not forced to sell productive and household assets to cope, and ensuring destroyed productive assets are replaced. In terms of household food security, vulnerable people should be given various financial and material options, so that they can choose what works best for them. Household livelihood recovery and sustainability are largely conditioned by the local economy. Support to the local economy and market is often missing from agencies responses. ALNAP states that support to local market activity can broaden the base of livelihoods programmes and tap community resources for flood response, although such measures must be carefully designed. We should attempt to work within, and support, existing economic systems by locally sourcing aid supplies (where possible) and reconstruction labour and by using existing social and economic infrastructure. Analysis of urban markets should look at what goods are available and where (food, shelter items, critical NFIs), but also their role as labour markets. Assessment of markets needs to be followed up on a regular basis to monitor price trends. ALNAP states that Urban food insecurity tends to occur not because of an absolute lack of food, but because urban populations are unable to afford food when prices rise. This reinforces the importance of market monitoring and the importance of non foodbased interventions such as cash and vouchers (as opposed to food distributions) in urban settings. As urban dwellers use cash more to meet shelter, food, health, water and sanitation need, livelihoods based approaches to needs assessment may be more relevant than single sector assessments. 5

7 ALNAP suggests that existing shops and traders are used for distributions whilst helping the rehabilitation of the local economy with vouchers and coupons. This can also have important secondary benefits in terms of stimulating markets and supporting local producers. 8. The number of cases of communicable diseases will often rise after a disaster, particularly where there is wide scale displacement (ALNAP Flood Disasters; ALNAP Urban Disasters) In displaced populations (such as those in overcrowded evacuation shelters), outbreaks (particularly measles and meningitis) are more common where nutritional status is poor, and/or where water and sanitation systems are damaged. Outbreaks of water borne diseases are more likely where sanitation systems are affected by disaster. Disease outbreak is prevented by good understanding of water and sanitation conditions, disease surveillance, speedy response to warning and preparedness. Waterborne diseases are preventable through provision of clean water and sanitation. In determining WASH interventions, we should consider issues such as the availability of existing supplies, site access (particularly for women), proximity to existing infrastructure, the condition of existing infrastructure, and local preferences. Additional provision may be needed in public buildings being used as temporary shelter, such as schools. ALNAP states the importance of software interventions, for instance interventions that include household water treatment should be accompanied by information and education on correct use and maintenance; and the importance of good hygiene practices in dense urban areas are critical to reduce disease incidences. ALNAP also states that recovery actions in both water and sanitation can quickly become bound up with complex issues of resettlement: clarity on a clear exit strategy is extremely important. ALNAP states that vector borne diseases such as malaria and dengue appear to be more likely to occur after floods, typically with some weeks delay. Appropriate vector control and population communication (about protection and risk management) should begin immediately. 9. Shelter is necessary to provide security and personal safety, protect from the climate and enhance resistance to ill health and disease (ALNAP Flood Disasters, ALNAP Urban Disasters). It is also important for human dignity and to sustain family and community life. The livelihood activities of many flood prone communities are home or homestead based and may be destroyed by 6

8 flooding. Quick provision of temporary shelter reduces exposure, can help to limit the outbreak of disease and can free up shelters for their intended purpose (e.g. schools). However, transitional shelter solutions should not be an indirect means to shelve permanent housing plans and continue to allow people to live in hazardous areas a balance needs to be sought between the immediate humanitarian imperative and the longer term best interests of the population. Groupe URD and ALNAP stress that all the measures that could limit the need to relocate people far from their areas and their livelihood should be given top priority. The relocation of affected people outside of their areas of origin should be the very last option, with specific attention given to livelihood opportunities if relocation is to be sustainable. 10. The importance of not conflating evacuees with IDPs, and evacuation centres with IDP camps is crucial (URD Humanitarian Action in Urban Settings) The use of the IDP category in urban settings needs to be treated with caution. Evacuees in urban evacuation centres are not IDPs as they are typically living a few hundred meters from their former houses and so may be within reach of their support networks. Treating them and calling them IDP may trigger assistance reflex which can be detrimental to their own resilience and capacities. As such, evacuees should be treated as urban residents having sought safe event for a temporary short period. Similarly, evacuation centres in urban settings should be managed differently to IDP camps, with particular consideration to the fluidity of the situation. 11. Use new and existing media for better communication, information gathering and accountability (ALNAP Urban disasters). Community radio can be a powerful means of communicating information. When coupled with face to face communication, radio can improve consistency in messaging and improve its reach. Mobile phones can help communities to communicate needs, but also locate needs geographically and monitor population movements, when coupled with crowdsourcing technology. They can also help improve accountability to affected communities. 7

9 REFERENCES Cities Affected by Typhoons in the Philippines (Metro Manila, Cagayan de Oro and Iligan): Humanitarian Action in Urban Settings; Groupe Urgence Rehabilitation Development; January/February 2012 External Evaluation Report: Post Typhoon Ketsana Response and Recovery Interventions funded by the Disaster Emergency Committee in Vietnam and the Philippines; Save the Children; December 2010 Flood disasters: Learning from previous relief and recovery operation; ALNAP, 2008 Inter Agency Real Time Evaluation (IA RTE) of the Humanitarian Response to Typhoons Ketsana and Parma in the Philippines; Dara; April 2010 Responding to urban disasters: Learning from previous relief and recovery operations; ALNAP; 2012 Save the Children s role in Disaster Management in High and Middle Income Countries; Save the Children; March 2013 Tsunami Evaluation Coalition; Synthesis Report: Expanded Summary; Joint evaluation of the international response to the Indian Ocean tsunami; January

10 KEY LESSONS TO LEARN FOR TYPHOON HAIYAN RESPONSE By MEAL Humanitarian Technical Working Group, Save the Children HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS THINK TANK Directed by Michel Maietta, Associated Research Fellow at IRIS, Head of the Humanitarian Affairs Unit at Save the Children france.org IRIS TOUS DROITS RÉSERVÉS INSTITUT DE RELATIONS INTERNATIONALES ET STRATÉGIQUES 2 bis rue Mercœur PARIS / France T (0) F (0) france.org france.org strategiques.info 9

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