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UNICEF builds capacity for emergencies

Due to the increased frequency with which countries find themselves thrust into a situation of instability, UNICEF has decided to mainstream its emergency response capacity into it's regular country programming process. Whether due to civil strife, insurgencies, warfare, or natural disasters such as drought, earthquakes and floods, UNICEF country offices across the globe increasingly find themselves having to respond to emergency situations.

In keeping with the roles and responsibilities outlined in the memorandum of understanding developed with WFP, UNICEF need to undertake a number of activities following the declaration of an emergency. Instead of reacting after the fact, UNICEF offices are now expected to be able to proactively respond in emergency situations.

Amongst the responses from UNICEF offices expected in an emergency situation, the nutrition related ones are now considered a priority. UNICEF expects its offices to be able to lead a process of assessment and monitoring of the nutrition situation. In addition UNICEF should be able to source and deliver emergency supplies, including special foods for therapeutic feeding of severely malnourished children and micronutrient supplements as appropriate.

In order for UNICEF to meet these expectations a series of training sessions are being planned to create the required capacity. Initial emphasis will be given to the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Capacity building efforts will be carried out in coordination with those of WFP.

For further information contact Ludmilla Lhotska, UNICEF Nutrition section New York, e-mail: llhotska@unicef.org

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UNICEF builds capacity for emergencies. Field Exchange 10, July 2000. p10. www.ennonline.net/fex/10/unicef

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