8. Case study: Good practices from the 2005 tsunami emergency response

  • Immediately start distribution: The concept of ‘assessment teams not arriving empty handed’ is viewed as an important step to provide immediate support and develop relations with affected communities. This can be done by reallocating relief materials already on hand to facilitate quick relief distributions to affected areas (CARE Indonesia).
  • Facilitate fast response by having ‘go-kits’: Pre-positioned stocks of  deployment kits (backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, CARE vests, etc.) ensured that staff were readily able to start assessments and distribution (CARE Indonesia).
  • Establish decentralized warehousing facilities at the district level: Decentralized warehouses provide more flexibility in planning/implementing distributions at the village level, especially in relation to unanticipated delays with resource deliveries and the implementation of last-minute changes. This approach can also reduce burden on the state office logistics teams who only need to plan the dispatch of bulk consignments to district warehouses (CARE India).
  • Establish an identity card (‘token’) system: The distribution of ‘tokens’ to families assisted in smoother distributions at the village level and reduced the potential for abuses by recipients. The ‘family card token’ was effective in tracking distributions and promoted distribution transparency.
  • Promote shared responsibility for security among local partner(s) and village representatives for items that are stored temporarily: Items (usually stored for a day) resulted in no losses at the community level. According to local NGO partner (CREED) representatives, it was clearly understood that the local partner had assumed full liability of relief items temporarily stored at the community level, which motivated them to ensure adequate security at the community level. Temples and churches were also effective storage sites, as local beliefs (taboos) prevented criminals from stealing from them (CARE India).
  • Airlift/transport services: Use a combination of both free airlift services and commercial air transport services. This allows more influence and control of scheduling consignments, and can reduce pipeline gaps when free transport options can’t meet demand.
  • Deploy experienced people with knowledge of CARE systems: Experienced workers with knowledge of relevant documentation requirements should be deployed to train newly hired staff members. If experienced workers are unavailable, trainers should have basic knowledge of generic accountability/control systems.
  • Expand approved vendor lists: Approved vendor lists should have an increased focus on distribution and logistics services providers (transport, warehousing, security, etc.). For storage facilities, this requires identifying beforehand the minimum standards and required characteristics, desired locations, and establishing ongoing relationships with warehouse owners to ensure priority access for future emergencies.
  • Develop standard relief packages: Categories of relief packages (for example, family packs, kitchen packs, hygiene packs) should be standardized with clear specifications that can be included in the vendor/price lists for faster procurement of relief items.
  • Backstopping: Obtain/negotiate additional backstopping associated with program logistics from CARE’s Emergency Group (CEG) during the initial phase of emergency response. This is important when the response requires the establishment of new offices, warehouses, logistics chains and/or interventions with which the CO has little experience.

CARE staff deployment kits: Kits should include a week’s supply of water purification tablets and instant food packets to ensure staff has access to adequate food and water during the initial response phase.