GENEVA, Switzerland, August 28, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM, UNICEF and Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) yesterday (27/08) convened a workshop, attended by 35 government officials and NGO representatives, to revise the current system of assessing humanitarian needs in emergencies.
As one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change and environmental hazards, Mozambique faces major humanitarian crises almost every year in the form of extreme floods and cyclones.
The workshop, which was facilitated by emergency assessment specialists, Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS), responds to calls from the government to improve the way humanitarian needs are monitored and assessed, drawing on the lessons learnt from Zambezia’s flooding emergency in January this year.
Yesterday’s participants included members from the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), and directors from INGC, humanitarian organizations, and from various ministries including Education and Public Affairs.
“Under the current system, critical information on the ground must pass through a series of levels of government before it reaches the National Emergency Operations Centre (CENOE), by which point it can be outdated,” says IOM Project Officer Joczabet Guerrero.
“In addition, the current form used by local leaders to collect population data during the first 72 hours of the emergencies is very lengthy and technical, often leading them to misinterpret questions or leave sections blank, creating issues with data consistency.”
IOM has developed a revised rapid assessment form as a proposal to replace the current one, which will be piloted by INGC in a nation-wide emergency simulation in October this year. Government members yesterday agreed that other measures must be taken to streamline the system, such as investing in mobile phone and other messaging technologies to allow information to flow more quickly.
The workshop was part of IOM’s ongoing programme to facilitate the Mozambican government’s decentralization of its emergency response, as well as to improve disaster response capacity. The programme was launched shortly after the passing of new disaster legislation in April 2014, which sought to increase the autonomy and capacity of local government to implement preventative or rescue measures in their localities.
“The participation of IOM is very important for us,” said CENOE Information Analyst Igor Honwana. “And the fact that IOM has already developed a tool that will be tested in the simulation is a significant step for us,” he added.