Humanitarian.info’s first hand account of the humanitarian response in South Ossetia

by Jon Thompson on September 24, 2008

Just down the road from the UNICEF offices is one of the Collective Centres where displaced people are living on a temporary basis.

Just down the road from the UNICEF offices is one of the Collective Centres where displaced people are living on a "temporary" basis.

Since Paul ‘Itchy Fists’ Currion supplies us with zero photos over at Humanitarian.info I thought it justified that I post him instead.  Anyway, Paul recently posted about his work in Georgia and South Ossetia and for those of you interested in an insightful and clearly written first hand account of the pro’s and con’s of working for a UN agency in a disaster zone you should head on over to Paul’s site and get the latest.  From Paul’s post:

Summary version: this response showed yet again the importance of investing in information resources before an emergency hits. That doesn’t just mean getting loads of satellite images (although UNOSAT did some impressive work on damage levels) but investing in relationships with government, relationships that can be leveraged quickly to mutual benefit. It means having a basic picture already in place – locations of schools, for example – that you can then overlay new data on top of – such as the estimated IDP numbers in those schools. This really needs a collective approach – one agency alone isn’t sufficient to achieve success, although you need a focal point for the effort – but it continues to make me wonder if we should be thinking about setting up an organisation that collects and disseminates operational data like this.

At least that would avoid me feeling like a numpty, turning up at meetings with my tiny spreadsheet of schools that might need some watsan rehabilitation…

Read on…

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