3. Travel and logistical arrangements for emergency staff
- Coordinate with HR to facilitate visa processing including informing the incoming staff of visa requirements, issuing letters of invitation and obtaining government approval.
- Make arrival arrangements for international staff including pick-up, briefings and registration if required.
- Ensure all incoming emergency personnel have adequate office space and equipment.
- Establish appropriate accommodation for emergency personnel in either hotels or staff houses.
- Coordinate internal staff travel requirements.
- Make outward travel arrangements for international staff at the end of the contract.
Administration plays a critical role in helping to mobilise the Emergency Response Team by making travel and logistics arrangements for emergency staff. This includes incoming international emergency staff, as well as arrangements for national staff redeploying into the emergency area.
Organising travel and logistical arrangements is a critical and time-consuming activity that requires staff to be familiar with visa requirements, travel arrangements, ticketing and other in-country requirements such as travel permissions. It also requires clear and timely communication with the relevant staff. Adequate resources must be dedicated to this task, as timeliness is critical. Poor coordination and communication can cause critical delays in the emergency response.
International personnel may be requested to support the emergency response. This will be coordinated by the HR unit (refer to Chapter 21 Human resources). Once incoming personnel are selected, the administration unit should obtain the following information from the HR unit (or directly from the personnel if there is no HR unit):
- passport details of the selected applicants, preferably a scanned copy of the passport
- current location of the applicant
- copy of the applicant’s curriculum vitae and job description
- tentative arrival dates and expected duration of the assignment.
The administration unit should then prepare or obtain a letter of invitation and commence the visa application process. The exact process will vary according to each country, and according to the nationality of the incoming personnel. If you are not familiar with the visa entry process for the country, check the following:
- What type of visa are humanitarian workers required to enter on?
- Does the CO have copies of the relevant application forms?
- Is a visa available on arrival at the airport?
- Can a visa be issued by the diplomatic mission in the candidate’s home country? If not, then where is the closest location that a visa can be obtained?
- Does the visa require in-country approval by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or other government department? What is the process for obtaining this approval?
- Is a letter of invitation required? Can this be an official letter from CARE or is this an official government-issued letter of invitation?
- What are the restrictions or variations that apply to specific passport holders?
This information and necessary documentation (for example, a letter of invitation or support from CARE) should be provided to the incoming staff member, ensuring that necessary documentation is sent to them as soon as possible to allow them to apply for the visa.
The administration unit should make arrival arrangements for incoming staff, including the following responsibilities:
- Coordinate closely with the HR unit and track arrival details of all incoming personnel including arrival date and time, flight or transport details, passport number, and final destination.
- Maintain a travel information board that provides arrival and departure information of all travelling staff. A sample is provided in Annex 18.3 Sample Travel Information Board.
- Confirm accommodation arrangements prior to arrival (see section 3.4).
- Confirm pick-up arrangements (with CARE drivers or a secure taxi company).
- In coordination with the HR unit, ensure all incoming personnel receive timely pre-arrival information (before they leave their home location). Refer to Chapter 21 Human resources, pre-deployment planning checklist. Pre-arrival information should include:
- arrival instructions (whether staff will be picked up by a CARE driver, the name of the driver or what taxi service is safe)
- name and address of selected accommodation
- emergency contact telephone numbers of key CO staff
- host CO address, office timings and any critical internal regulations
- background briefing on country, working conditions and emergency programme
- written security briefing
- a laminated CARE identification card (see Chapter 21 Human resources, Annex 18.13 ID card-template)
- If required by host country regulations, the administration unit should arrange for new international staff to formally register at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a local police station or other government office, on arrival or within a specified time limit. This is often required to:
- extend the duration of the visa
- obtain travel permits to get to the emergency zone
- receive an official identification card from the government as a humanitarian worker
- obtain permission to drive a vehicle in the country.
- Coordinate with HR for new staff to commence induction, and be provided with necessary briefings and equipment once they arrive at the office for duty (see Chapter 21 Human resources, and section 3.3).
Emergencies often result in large numbers of new staff. It is the responsibility of the Administration unit to coordinate the allocation of office space and equipment for incoming staff. This should be coordinated with the IT Officer. Each incoming emergency staff member (both international and national) should be allocated:
- a work space including desk, chair and stationery
- computer and printer access (some international staff may bring their own laptops, but where this is not the case, the CO will need to provide a computer)
- internet access
- access to telephone, including mobile phone where considered appropriate for the position or security requirement
All equipment provided must be recorded in a register and signed for by the staff member to enable tracking of equipment and return on completion of the assignment. The Administration unit should also provide staff with a briefing on how to request additional equipment or supplies.
If inadequate office space and equipment is available for emergency staff within existing office capacity, the Administration unit will be responsible for establishing new or additional offices (see section 6). Requisitions for new equipment should be submitted via the procurement unit (see Chapter 16 Procurement).
The administration unit is responsible for making arrangements for accommodation for all emergency personnel, both those arriving in the country at the main office and in the field in the area of operations. Accommodation for emergency personnel is normally in hotels or in rented staff houses. Where neither option is available, it may be necessary for CARE to establish a compound with temporary accommodation (see section 7).
3.4.1 Hotel accommodation
For the initial period of arrival, the CO should identify and book suitable hotels for incoming personnel, considering the following:
- All CARE staff should be accommodated in the same hotel or closely located hotels.
- It may be necessary to make a block booking if staff is regularly coming and going.
- The administration manager should negotiate arrangements with the hotel management to ensure a good rate for CARE and guarantee that rooms will be available at short notice.
- The hotel must be suitable, secure and close to CARE’s office and other facilities.
- The hotel should have telecommunication and internet connectivity.
3.4.2 Staff house accommodation
For longer-staying staff, the administration unit should establish staff houses rather than using hotels. This allows incoming staff to be housed immediately and is usually a much more cost-effective arrangement than hotels. However, it also requires greater attention from the administration unit to supply and manage the staff house adequately.
To establish a staff house, the Administration unit should:
- select appropriate rental houses considering the location, security and conditions
- negotiate lease agreements with landlords-ideally, fully furnished (a sample lease agreement is provided at Annex 18.4 Sample House Rental Agreement)
- arrange for furniture, equipment and supplies. This should preferably be included in the lease agreement to avoid the need for procurement. A list of requirements is at Annex 18.5 Staff house furniture requirements
- arrange support staff or services including cleaning, cooking and security guards
- allocate staff to housing. Pay special consideration to gender and diversity issues when assigning a new staff member to shared housing. Wherever possible, maintain separate quarters for men and women.
The Administration unit should provide necessary assistance for all internal travel of emergency response personnel including flight bookings and confirmations, arranging ground transport, and confirming accommodation. In some cases where commercial travel is not available, this may require liaison with the UN Humanitarian Air Service or other alternative options.
Internal travel should be coordinated by ensuring that staff who want to travel need to complete a travel request form (Annex 18.6) and maintain a travel information board to track movement information, including arrival and departure dates (Annex 18.3).
The Administration unit is responsible for making or confirming outward travel and ticketing arrangements for the international staff at the end of the contract. To facilitate this:
- Record the status and dates of return tickets for all staff when they first arrive in the country.
- Where the staff member does not have a return ticket, record the anticipated departure dates and destination.
- Track departure dates and confirm the date of travel with the staff member, preferably two weeks before departure.
- Obtain a written confirmation from the staff member if there is a change in travel plans, including a travel request form.
- Book or reconfirm tickets and transit accommodation if required.
Record arrival and departure dates on the travel information board (Annex 18.3).