I. Introduction

Disaster Response in Asia and the Pacific

What is the purpose of this guide?

Disaster Response in Asia and the Pacific: A Guide to International Tools and Services (hereafter referred to as "the guide") is designed to help disaster managers in national Governments gain basic knowledge of how to use international tools and services.

The guide is not prescriptive. It aims to support the growing disaster response and disaster response preparedness capabilities that exist at national level across Asia and the Pacific.

Who is the guide for?

The guide is for national disaster management organizations (NDMOs) and line ministries involved in disaster response and disaster response preparedness. It is also a reference document for representatives of intergovernmental organizations, civil- society actors and disaster-affected people.

What is the scope of the guide?

The guide concentrates on key tools and services that can be helpful to disaster managers during the response and response preparedness phases of the disaster programme cycle. It does not include tools and services encompassed by disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts, nor does it cover longer-term disaster recovery instruments. The guide includes some entries relevant to conflict situations. It does not include tools or services that are being developed.

How can the guide be used?

  • To create a common understanding of the tools and services available in the region.
  • To support emergency decision-making in small, medium and large-scale disasters.
  • To help locate international technical expertise before and at the onset of a disaster.
  • To facilitate partnerships between humanitarian actors.
  • To inform academic curricula at national and regional learning institutions.

How is the guide organized?

The guide has three main sections: [I] International Humanitarian Architecture; [II] Tools and Services for Disaster Response; and [III] Tools and Services for Disaster Response Preparedness. The reverse chronological order of the guide - response before response preparedness - is intentional. It deliberately profiles tools and services for response before those for response preparedness to offer a better understanding of the utility of certain response preparedness activities and how they support response efforts.

Why has the guide been produced?

It has been produced in response to a call by United Nations (UN) Members States and other humanitarian stakeholders at the 2011 Regional Humanitarian Partnership Workshop for the Asia-Pacific Region held in Shanghai, China for a handbook to guide disaster managers in understanding the interaction between national, regional and international humanitarian response mechanisms.

This version was developed in consultation with some 75 Government officials across Asia and the Pacific and more than 50 representatives of intergovernmental organizations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (RCRC Movement), national and international NGOs, donors and other key agencies worldwide.

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What are the definitions of disaster response and disaster response preparedness?

Disaster response: the provision of assistance or intervention during or immediately after a disaster to meet the life preservation and basic subsistence needs of those people affected.

Disaster response preparedness: pre-disaster activities that are undertaken to minimize loss of life, injury and property damage in a disaster, and to ensure that rescue, relief, rehabilitation and other services can be provided following a disaster. Preparedness for the first and immediate response is called "emergency preparedness".

Scope of the Guide: Response & Response Preparedness