Section 3: Key Actions within 72 Hours of Disaster


Information management

Ensuring the right information is available at the right time is critical to enable ActionAid to undertake timely, effective and accountable humanitarian responses, as well as to co-ordinate with others and capitalise on fundraising, media and influencing opportunities. Managing information during a humanitarian emergency is a crucial part of any operation. Knowing what is happening, where, who is affected and why, the causes of the disaster, what affected people’s needs are and what the policy and funding environment is like is essential to enable ActionAid to make decisions around the strategic direction of our response. Conversely, a lack of information can hinder our ability to initiate a rapid programme response, which may cost lives and increase suffering, and may mean we miss the vital window of opportunity for building our profile as a responding agency and raising much-Infomation sharing needed income for response.

Country programme calls IHART Head/IPM or IHART Information Officer to report incident.

Head of International Communications contacts Head of IHART to discuss possible RACE deployment.

Infomation sharing teleconference between: CD/Head of CoCo, IHART’s IPM, IHART Head.

Complete situation report and send to IHART Information Officer.

Share initial details of disaster with IHART

Who does this: country programme, linking with IHART

As per ActionAid’s standard operating procedures for orange and red alert emergencies, (see Annex 2) a teleconference will take place in the initial aftermath of a disaster between the respective Country Director/Head of Country Co-ordination (latter in the case of multi-country disaster); the IHART International Programme Manager and the Head of IHART. The purpose of the telecon is to share any information relating to the emergency, specifically:

  • Scale and location of disaster.

  • Type of disaster and cause of disaster.

  • Likely impact of disaster on ActionAid LRPs, including on sponsored children and families.

  • Immediate safety/security concerns of staff/partners.

  • Immediate capacity gaps identified at country level.

This information will help guide further actions on operational response, alert level declarations and subsequent fundraising and communications activity.

Complete ActionAid situation report (sitrep)

Who does this: member/country programme, support from IHART

The situation report is an internal ActionAid template that is used to share information on the disaster across the organisation. The first sitrep should be completed within 24 hours of the disaster and sent by email to the IHART Information Officer and relevant regional IHART International Programme Manager (contact details annex 4).

The sitrep includes the following information:

  • description of what has happened and the impact of the disaster

  • analysis of needs of the communities ActionAid works with

  • ActionAid’s planned response

  • member/country programme’s proposal for the alert level (yellow, orange, red)

  • funding needs and request for DPRF funds

  • request for EFAST deployments

  • initial communications content

  • overview of other actors’ responses.

The sitrep template and guidance on how to complete each question is included here.

When IHART receives the sitrep, the regional IHART IPM will review the information and ask for any clarifications from the country team. IHART will then use the information to make a recommendation on the alert level. IHART will also circulate the sitrep across ActionAid and make it available on the HIVE. The information will be used to inform various functions at the global level, including fundraising, communications, policy and advocacy.

Updated sitreps should be submitted regularly, as follows:

  • For the first week following the disaster: every 24 hours in the case of red alert disasters, every 48 hours in orange alert disasters, weekly in yellow alert disasters.

  • After the first week following the disaster (from day eight onwards): weekly in the case of orange and red alert disasters. Information requirements for yellow alert emergencies will depend on whether funds for response have been secured internationally (i.e. outside the disaster-affected country) and will be advised by the IHART Information Officer.

Establish process for information flow from affected areas to ActionAid and vice versa

Who does this: member/country programme

It is important to establish a system for receiving regular updates from the disaster-affected area/s, so that ActionAid is up-to-date with the latest situation, and can make informed decisions about the direction of our response. Additionally, establishing mechanisms through which disaster-affected communities can link directly with partners and ActionAid, to ask questions, complain, feed back on our programming, share their concerns etc. is a fundamental component of our accountability agenda and one that should be programmed into our emergency response from the start.

At the same time, it is critical to ensure that ActionAid is regularly linking with partners (and partners with communities) to share information on early warning/forecasts regarding whether the situation is likely to deteriorate or improve, as well as information on ActionAid’s response plans and budgets. In addition, ActionAid can play an important role in providing information on where and how communities can access goods, services and information, both relating to ActionAid’s programming and to the wider response of the government and other actors.

Two-way information flow systems should be activated in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, linking communities, partners, ActionAid in the disaster-affected country and IHART (who will link with the wider ActionAid federation).

Coordinate federation-wide information sharing

Who does this: IHART

In emergencies, IHART acts as the central co-ordinating body for information on the disaster and ActionAid’s response. Information flow both from the disaster-affected country to the wider federation, and from the federation back to the affected country, is co-ordinated primarily through the IHART Information Officer, linking with other parts of IHART (Team Business Manager on fundraising and the regional International Programme Manager on programming and policy).

The IHART Information Officer is responsible for sharing information on the disaster and ActionAid’s response with colleagues across the ActionAid federation – primarily communications staff, fundraising staff, colleagues from the Country Co-ordination and Programmes Directorates, SLT members and relevant Country Directors.

This includes:

  • Situation reports (or email updates in the absence of a sitrep), circulated daily for the first week following a red alert disaster or every other day in the case of an orange alert disaster; subsequently circulated on a weekly basis after the first week following the disaster.

  • Oversight Group meeting minutes, circulated following each Oversight Group meeting.

  • Monthly emergencies update email, a summary email circulated once a month sharing information on ActionAid’s responses to disasters across different countries. The IHART Information Officer is also responsible for collating information requests from federation members, and either answering these directly or linking with the disasteraffected country for additional information. By channelling information requests in this way, IHART seeks to reduce the burden on the disaster-affected country and limit the number of email communications between multiple groups.

IHART is also responsible for co-ordinating information on international fundraising opportunities, sharing these with the disaster-affected country and supporting subsequent development of fundraising proposals. Again, this co-ordination function, led by the IHART Team Business Manager, aims to reduce the burden on the disaster-affected county as well as keep relevant stakeholders across the federation up-to-date on the status of different funding opportunities.