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The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization responsible for
maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among
nations, achieving international cooperation, and being a center for harmonizing
the actions of nations. It is the largest, most familiar, most internationally
represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. The
UN is headquartered on international territory in New York City; other main
offices are in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna and The Hague.
The UN was established after World War II with the aim of preventing future wars,
succeeding the ineffective League of Nations.On 25 April 1945, 50 governments
met in San Francisco for a conference and started drafting the UN Charter, which
was adopted on 25 June 1945 and took effect on 24 October 1945, when the UN
began operations.
Pursuant to the Charter, the organization's objectives include maintaining
international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian
aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law. At its
founding, the UN had 51 member states; this number grew to 193 in 2011,
representing the vast majority of the world's sovereign states.
The UN has six principal organs: the General Assembly; the Security Council; the
Economic and Social Council; the Trusteeship Council; the International Court of
Justice; and the UN Secretariat.
The UN System includes a multitude of specialized agencies, such as the World
Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme,
Additionally, non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status
with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the UN's work. The UN's chief
administrative officer is the Secretary-General, currently Portuguese politician and
diplomat António Guterres since 1 January 2017. The organization is financed by
assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states.
The UN and Disaster Management
Recognizing the need to contribute to disaster response and recovery efforts, the
United Nations established in 1971 its own mechanism to provide international
assistance to governments when such governments elevate a request for
humanitarian assistance. All response activities within the United Nations are
coordinated by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team
At the request of the government affected by a disaster, OCHA may dispatch a
United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC) to the
country within 12 to 48 hours after a sudden-onset disaster to provide technical
services, principally in tasks such as damage and needs assessment, on-site
coordination and information management. UNDAC teams aim to facilitate close
links between country-level, regional and international response efforts. When
deemed appropriate, the United Nations may also set up an On-Site Operations
Coordination Centre (OSOCC) to help local authorities in a disaster-affected
country to coordinate international relief.
Cluster System
In addition, OCHA has established a structure of clusters as a way for UN agencies
to work together with non-UN agencies (f. ex. NGOs) to deliver humanitarian
assistance in a coordinated fashion. There are eleven different clusters, each one
focusing on a specific set of tasks or functions. Each cluster is headed by one or
two UN organizations or agencies. Both the UNDAC team and the OCHA clusters
coordinate their efforts with the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN
Humanitarian Coordinator in the country affected by the disaster
The UN Disaster Management Team
Figure 6.1 The UN disaster management team
The United Nations General Assembly believes that the objectives of team
management are applicable to the UN agencies oriented to emergencies. They have
mandated that a standing UN Disaster Management Team (UN-DMT) be formed
in each disaster-prone country, convened and chaired by the UN resident
coordinator. The composition of the UN-DMT is determined by taking into
account the types of disaster to which the country is prone and the organizations
present, but should normally include a core group consisting of the country-level
representatives of FAO, UNDP/UNDRO, UNICEF, WFP, WHO and, where
present, UNHCR. It may be enlarged to include additional representatives or
project personnel from other relevant agencies when an emergency arises.
The original and primary purpose of the UN-DMT is to ensure a prompt, effective
and concerted response by the UN system at country level in the event of a
disaster. The team should also ensure similar coordination of UN assistance to the
Government in respect to post-disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction, and
relevant disaster mitigation measures through long-term development programs. It
should be emphasized that for all aspects of disaster management the UN-DMT is
in a support role of the government.
The UN-DMT recognizes and in no way supersedes the mandates and specific
functions of the various organizations in the exercise of those mandates. It supports
and assists the office of the resident coordinator in the exercise of its system-wide
functions. In line with General Assembly resolution 46/182, the latter will maintain
close contact with, and receive leadership from the Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Figure 6.2 Country disaster management team
Most disaster prone countries already have a formal or informal disaster
management team. It is typically headed by a national disaster focal point body.
This body functions in liaison with the Office of the President or Prime Minister,
with civil defense organizations, key government ministries, the Red Cross/Red
Crescent, and other NGOs and major donors. The UN-DMT needs to interface
with this team and, where practical, to be a team member. Where national officials
do not participate in UN-DMT meetings or activities, the resident coordinator
should ensure that they are consulted and briefed on all relevant matters. In
practice it is vital that the policies of the DMT relate to those approved by the
Government even under the pressure of events.
Tasks, roles and resources of the UN
Organizational tasks and general roles
Primary responsibility for all aspects of disaster management rests with the
Government of the affected country. This includes: planning and implementing
long-term risk reduction and preparedness measures; planning and administering
disaster relief and rehabilitation operations, requesting international assistance if
required; and coordinating all disaster-related assistance programs, both nationally
and internationally-funded.
Each UN organization or agency is responsible for providing advice and assistance
to the Government of a disaster-prone or disaster-affected country, in accordance
with its mandate and the resources available to it. In so doing, each agency is
accountable to its own governing body, but it is also called upon to act as a
member of a united team. In the case of refugee emergencies, UNHCR remains
responsible for their protection and the coordination of international assistance for
the refugees.
In relation to disaster relief and other post-disaster assistance, each organization
and agency of the UN system is called on to:
disaster-affected countries, according to its own mandate and the resources
available to it.
-operate with the UN resident coordinator, UNDRO, or any other
coordination mechanism established by the Secretary-General to ensure
appropriate, coordinated UN system assistance in the context of a concerted plan
and program.
Roles and resources of UNDP, UNDRO, and other UN agencies
The role of UNDP
UNDP focuses primarily on the development-related aspects of disaster risks and
occurrences, and on providing technical assistance to institution-building in
relation to all aspects of disaster management. Its emphasis is therefore on:
a) Incorporating long-term risk reduction and preparedness measures in normal
development planning and programs, including support for specific mitigation
measures where required.
b) Assisting in the planning and implementation of post-disaster rehabilitation and
reconstruction, including the definition of new development strategies that
incorporate risk reduction measures relevant to the affected area.
c) Reviewing the impact of large settlements of refugees or displaced persons on
development, and seeking ways to incorporate the refugees and displaced persons
in development strategies.
d) Providing technical assistance to the authorities managing major emergency
assistance operations of extended duration (especially in relation to displaced
persons and the possibilities for achieving durable solutions in such cases).
In addition, UNDP provides administrative and operational support to the resident
coordinator function, particularly at country level, but also at headquarters.
In the event of a disaster, UNDP may grant a maximum of $50,000 from SPR
funds to provide immediate relief. UNDP is not otherwise involved in the
provision of “relief using any of its own resources or other funds administered by
the Program.
Where a major emergency substantially affects the whole development process
within a country, IPF resources may be used to provide technical assistance to plan
and manage the operation, with the agreement of the Government.
Technical and material assistance in support of long-term risk reduction and
preparedness measures is included in the country program, and may be funded
from IPF resources or from other UNDP-administered funds. The same can also be
used to assist rehabilitation and reconstruction. Special additional grants (up to
$1.1 million) may be made from SPR funds for technical assistance to such postdisaster recovery efforts following natural disasters.
The particular responsibilities of the UNDP resident representative are summarized
in the following panel.
Disaster management responsibilities of the UNDP resident representative
The resident representative is responsible for:
a) Ensuring that all concerned in planning development programs are aware of any
known or potential hazards and their likely effects, and that these are appropriately
taken into account in the country program.
b) Designating a “disaster focal point,” and ensuring that the field office is
adequately prepared to respond to an emergency.
c) In the event of a disaster:
that meet the needs of the situation, particularly those needed for the initial
assessment and immediate response.
office is strengthened if necessary to ensure effective response.
Disaster focal point
In all disaster-prone country field offices, a senior national officer is designated a
“disaster focal point” for all disaster-related matters including mitigation, response
and international UN/UNDP preparedness. Section 3A and appendix 3A of the
UNDP/UNDRO Disaster Manual provide detail on the duties and qualifications of
the disaster focal point.
In a major or complex emergency of extended duration (typically involving
displaced populations), UNDP may temporarily assign an additional deputy
resident representative. That deputy may either manage normal UNDP business
while the resident representative concentrates on the resident coordinator
functions, or may take day-today responsibility for matters relating to the
emergency which are within the UNDP mandate. In the countries with the most
severe or prolonged emergencies UNDP has established UN Emergency Units.
These units are able to focus exclusively on addressing the emergency and are
often staffed by persons seconded from sister UN agencies that are operational in
that country.
In the event of a sudden influx of refugees into a country in which there is no
UNHCR representation, the resident representative immediately notifies UNHCR
and initiates the assessment process on behalf of the UNHCR. (See section 4A.5 of
the manual.)
The role of UNDRO
UNDRO is the focal point for disaster management in the UN system (except in
those countries where a UN Emergency Unit is established). In relief it provides a
framework for coordination of assistance by the UN agencies and helps to
coordinate such assistance with that from other sources. In addition, UNDRO has
an important role in mobilizing external assistance and serving as a clearing house
for information concerning disasters. In the area of mitigation, UNDRO promotes
long-term measures to reduce disaster-related risks and enhance preparedness in
disaster-prone countries. UNDRO is represented at country level on a permanent
basis by the resident coordinator/representative.
Coordination at headquarters level is often effected by contacts between the Head
of Agencies concerned at the beginning of a relief operation, and through frequent
ongoing contacts between the relevant focal points. At the country level,
coordination is undertaken by the resident coordinator who is also the UNDRO
representative. Whenever possible and required, UNDRO supports the resident
coordinator by dispatching an UNDRO delegate or emergency assistance team.
UNDRO concentrates on problems related to natural hazards and sudden disasters,
but as its mandate covers all kinds of emergencies UNDRO may also offer its
services and advice in situations including droughts, and cases of war and civil
conflicts, unless and until the Secretary-General makes other arrangements.
Following a disaster, UNDRO, acting on behalf of the Secretary-General, offers its
services to the Government of the disaster-stricken state in assessing the need for
external relief assistance, and communicating that information to prospective
donors and others concerned. (Contacts with the Government are conducted
through the resident coordinator/representative and the country’s mission in
Geneva or New York.) Where international assistance is required or requested,
Government, the resident coordinator/representative, UN-DMT, and other
competent bodies.
ormation on
needs and contributions, the assistance extended or planned by all donors, and the
progress of relief operations.
organizations and agencies, bilateral donors, and inter- and non-governmental
organizations and administers funds channelled through it.
Depending on the particular situation after consultations, wherever possible, with
the Government or the resident coordinator/representative, UNDRO may:
ore delegates on mission to assist the national authorities in
organizing the assessment and administering relief operations, and assist the
resident coordinator/representative in information management, the local
coordination of international relief assistance, and in his reporting responsibilities
prompt delivery to the affected population. This may include organizing shared or
joint relief flights.
The Coordinator may approve a grant of up to US$ 50,000 per disaster from funds
available to UNDRO, subject to certain conditions. In some situations, UNDRO
can release supplies from the emergency stockpile it administers in Pisa, Italy.
UNDP/UNDRO collaboration
UNDP and UNDRO complement each other. UNDP has a wealth of experience in
development planning and administration, and well-established field offices.
UNDRO has specific knowledge and experience in disaster management, and
established contacts with relevant specialist bodies. The fact that the UNDP
resident representative also represents UNDRO helps to ensure fruitful cooperation
between the organizations.
At the country level UNDP field offices generally administer funds and resources
channelled through UNDRO, following normal inter-agency procedures. This
includes the local procurement of supplies and services, and the recruitment and
appointment of temporary staff.
Disaster-related roles of the core members of the UN-DMTs
Provides technical advice in reducing vulnerability and
helps in the rehabilitation of agriculture, livestock, and
fisheries, with emphasis on local food production.
Monitors food production, exports and imports, and
forecasts any requirements of exceptional food assistance.
Promotes the incorporation of disaster mitigation in
development planning, and funds technical assistance for
all aspects of disaster management. Provides
administrative support to the resident coordinator and UNDMT.
Mobilizes and coordinates international emergency relief
assistance, issuing consolidated appeals. Assists in
assessments and relief management if required. Provides
advice and guidance on risk assessments and in planning
and implementing mitigation measures.
Assures the protection of refugees and seeks durable
solutions to their problems. Helps to mobilize and assure
the delivery of necessary assistance in the country of
asylum if it is a developing country.
Attends to the well-being of children and women,
especially child health and nutrition. Assistance activities
may include: social programs; child feeding (in
collaboration with WFP): water supplies, sanitation and
direct health interventions (in collaboration with WHO).
Provides related management and logistical support.
Provides “targeted” food aid for humanitarian relief, and
to support rehabilitation, reconstruction, and risk-reducing
development programs. Mobilizes and coordinates the
delivery of complementary emergency and “program”
food aid from bilateral and other sources.
Provides advice and assistance in all aspects of preventive
and curative health care, including the preparedness of
health services for rapid response to disasters.
Role of other UN organizations and agencies
A number of other UN organizations and agencies have specific responsibilities,
organizational arrangements, and capabilities relating to disaster mitigation, and/or
relief or recovery assistance. UNDP, UNDRO, and resident coordinators must
respect the mandates and skills of these agencies, and seek to ensure that all work
together in harmony. All should use their expertise and resources to best effect in
helping people in disaster-prone and disaster-affected areas.
The Formation of the IFRC
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) was
founded in 1919 in Paris in the aftermath of World War I. The war had shown a
need for close cooperation between Red Cross Societies, which, through their
humanitarian activities on behalf of prisoners of war and combatants, had attracted
millions of volunteers and built a large body of expertise. A devastated Europe
could not afford to lose such a resource.
It was Henry Davison, president of the American Red Cross War Committee, who
proposed forming a federation of these National Societies. An international
medical conference initiated by Davison resulted in the birth of the League of Red
Cross Societies, which was renamed in October 1983 to the League of Red Cross
and Red Crescent Societies, and then in November 1991 to become the
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The first objective of the IFRC was to improve the health of people in countries
that had suffered greatly during the four years of war. Its goals were “to strengthen
and unite, for health activities, already-existing Red Cross Societies and to promote
the creation of new Societies”
There were five founding member Societies: Britain, France, Italy, Japan and the
United States. This number has grown over the years and there are now 190
recognized National Societies – one in almost every country in the world.
The Birth of an Idea
The Red Cross idea was born in 1859, when Henry Dunant, a young Swiss man,
came upon the scene of a bloody battle in Solferino, Italy, between the armies of
imperial Austria and the Franco-Sardinian alliance. Some 40,000 men lay dead or
dying on the battlefield and the wounded were lacking medical attention.
Dunant organized local people to bind the soldiers’ wounds and to feed and
comfort them. On his return, he called for the creation of national relief societies to
assist those wounded in war, and pointed the way to the future Geneva
“Would there not be some means, during a period of peace and calm, of forming
relief societies whose object would be to have the wounded cared for in time of
war by enthusiastic, devoted volunteers, fully qualified for the task?” he wrote.
The Red Cross was born in 1863 when five Geneva men, including Dunant, set up
the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded, later to become the
International Committee of the Red Cross. Its emblem was a red cross on a white
background: the inverse of the Swiss flag. The following year, 12 governments
adopted the first Geneva Convention; a milestone in the history of humanity,
offering care for the wounded, and defining medical services as “neutral” on the
Redcross and disaster management
As a truly global organization, with National Societies in 186 countries and more
than 97 million volunteers locally, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is
very often the first to respond to any disaster, from the small to the large-scale. At
any level of response, whether it is local, national or international, the effective
coordination of available human, financial and in-kind resources is crucial both for
the beneficiaries and for the donors.
One of the primary roles of any Red Cross or Red Crescent National Society, as
auxiliary to the authorities, is to provide first-line disaster response services.
National Societies have a role (often legally defined) assigned by their
governments in disaster response, which varies from country to country. It may
involve search and rescue operations, evacuating the injured or people endangered
by the disaster, managing shelters, restoring family links, running ambulance
services or retrieving and evacuating dead bodies. In most National Societies,
volunteers are trained in first aid, so that they can bring life-saving assistance to
people injured in a disaster. They are also trained to assess damage and the
emergency needs of the population, to identify those in need of assistance and to
organize relief distributions. They may also provide health care and psychological
In about 80 percent of cases, National Societies respond to a disaster at the local or
national level, without the need for regional or international support. However,
whatever the size and level, the National Societies’ response is governed by the
same principles and policies.
Internationally, National Societies, each within the limits of its resources give
assistance for victims of natural disasters and other emergencies. Such assistance,
in the form of services and personnel, of material, financial and moral support is
given through the National Society of the country concerned by the disaster and the
International Federation.
At community level, groups of volunteers are trained to work together in
Community Disaster Response Teams bringing assistance to people in their
communities affected by disasters.
National Disaster Response Teams are made up of National Society staff and
volunteers, often from different branches or chapters, trained and working
alongside Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers at community level to bring
assistance to people affected by disaster. They are made up of generalists and
specialists in health, logistics, relief or water and sanitation. They can be mobilized
at short notice and are trained to work as a team and support the local Red Cross or
Red Crescent branch or chapter in its response to the disaster.
The organisational structure for Disaster Management in Kenya is presented as in
the Chart below. The functions of the different Stakeholders within the system are
 The National Disaster Management Authority
 The national Platform Sectorial Ministries
 The 6 directorates, including DOC Humanitarian and Development Partners
Partners and
 Agencies District Disaster mgmt Committees Local authorities
 Divisional Disaster DDMCs
 Community Early Warning Community Disaster Management intiativs
Technical Staff at field level Community Response Units Participatory
Monitoring & Evaluation
National Disaster Executive Committee (NDEC)
The National Disaster Executive Committee is the highest Disaster Management
decision-making body. It is at the Cabinet level and is chaired by H.E the
President. Its core function is to provide policy guidance in relation to National
aspirations, nominate/ appoint the Board of Directors of NADIMA. NDEC makes
decisions on national disaster Management issues especially during emergencies.
As things stand now it is the only body with power to advise his Excellency the
President whether to declare a national disaster and make international appeals for
assistance. Its members are as follows: Ministers of, State Special Programmes,
Provincial Administration & Internal Security,
Foreign Affairs, Health,
Water and Irrigation, Agriculture,
Livestock, Defense, Environment,
Information, Planning,
Ministry for the Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands,
Ministry of Local Government and Finance.
This committee will be meeting on a quarterly basis to make decisions on issues
emanating from the Disaster Coordinating Committee. However during cases of
emergencies this committee can meet as often as the situation demands.
National Disaster Coordinating Committee (NDCC)
National Disaster Coordinating Committee (NDCC) is the executive arm of the
NDEC. NDCC is at the Permanent Secretary level and its Chair is the Head of
public service. Its core function is to execute policy. Other members include;
the Permanent Secretary Provincial Administration & Internal Security,
Foreign Affairs,
Water and Irrigation,
Health, Information, Planning,
Agriculture, and
Livestock Dev.
NDCC receives disaster management instructions from the NDEC and implements
decisions on its behalf. The other functions of the NDCC include:  Provide information on ministerial plans on Disaster Management Plans and
how and when to activate them
 Ratify the deployment of National resources in case of emergencies
 Identify resource gaps and sources of non-food resources for Emergencies
and Assistance.
These two Committees work on an ad hoc basis and also meet on a quarterly basis
just before NDEC and more frequently during emergencies.
The Ministry of State for Special Programs.
The Ministry of State for Special Programmes will be in charge of Disaster
Management policies, and will, therefore, coordinate implementation of this
Policy. It will coordinate all the disaster efforts of sectoral ministries, including
Disaster Risk Reduction, and ensure that the policy is mainstreamed in their
planning, development and budgeting. It will develop appropriate guidelines
together with the private sector and Civil Society Organisations as well as to other
stakeholders on relevant matters pertaining to Disaster Management.
The Ministry of State for Special Programmes will be the custodian of Disaster
Management policy formulation processes within Government and, through the
Minister, will advise Cabinet on all matters pertaining to Disaster Cycle
Management. It will establish partnerships and collaborative linkages with existing
institutions/organizations, and will implement this policy and other Disaster
Management activities. The Ministry of State for Special Programmes will fundraise for Disaster Management from other stakeholders other than the Government.
It will also conduct and support public awareness, sensitization and education on
Disaster Management
National Disaster Management Agency
National Disaster Management Agency was established with the following
mandates and responsibilities:
 To be in charge of the day-to-day management of all disaster management
activities as stipulated in these policy guidelines and in any other
instructions which may be given by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of
Special Programmes from time to time ;
 To operate an effective and efficient National Early Warning /Disaster
Monitoring Information System; To facilitate national, district and
community level Disaster Management contingency processes that will
result in the preparation of Contingency Plans to be updated regularly at all
 With guidance, instruction and advise from the Board of Trustees of the
National Disaster Management and Contingency Funds, yet to be set up,
operate the Funds based on the procedures and guidelines provided ;
 Coordinate the DM activities of other stake holders in the DM Cycle
Encourage and enhance collaboration and partnerships through trust building and running a credible Disaster Management system among all
relevant stakeholders;
 Support the Ministry of Special Programmes in fund-raising activities
outside the Government Support capacity-building initiatives for Disaster
Management among all relevant stakeholders;
 Document, publish and disseminate all relevant Disaster Management data
and information to all stakeholders in and around the country;
 Operate a functional and effective Monitoring & Evaluation system for
programming and management activities on Disaster Management ;
 Support the Ministry of Special Programmes in education, training,
sensitization and public awareness
NADIMA will have the following six Directorates:
Early Warning,
Disaster Risk Profiling Information management and communication;
Response Coordination;
Finance and Administration;
Research, Planning,
Monitoring & Evaluation to support its services.
It will be headed by an Executive Director General, hired through a competitive
bidding process and a Board of Directors appointed by the Head of the
Government of Kenya through recommendations from the National Disaster
Executive Committee.
The Directorate of Early Warning and Disaster Risk Profiling
The responsibilities of this Directorate are:
 Regular monitoring, collection, analysis and evaluation of information on
the most frequent disasters in the country
 Coordination of all Early Warning System/ Information Service providers in
order to harmonize the information available on Disaster Management
 Production of regular Early Warning Disaster Management bulletins and
 Maintenance of a data base of information and trends on Disaster
Management in the country
 Development of hazard maps and disaster risk profiles based on a baseline
year; and continue to update this information for future scenario planning in
collaboration with other partners and stakeholders
 To establish a National Disaster Resource Centre. This Resource Centre will
monitor, collect and collate all relevant information and data pertaining to
Early Warning Systems and any other information on disasters; maintain the
hazard mapping and disaster monitoring database; and keep all evaluation
and impact assessment reports on disaster response interventions, on lessons
learning and on contributing to best practices.
Directorate of Institutional Coordination
The responsibilities of this Directorate will be as follows:
 Facilitation of collaboration and linkages among all relevant stakeholders:
such as the response stakeholders and disaster monitoring and Early
Warning information service providers, Disaster Risk Profilers and Planners
for Disaster Risk Reduction, in order to more strongly link Early Warning to
 Promotion of information and experience sharing among stakeholders:
 Carry out strategic disaster-related needs assessments and provide
recommendations to stakeholders involved in response initiatives
 Monitoring and Regulation of humanitarian and DM agencies c. Directorate
of Disaster Response, Relief and Recovery The responsibilities of this
Directorate are:
 Establishment and maintenance of a national disaster response capacity data
 Coordination of all stakeholders in disaster response;
 Facilitation of the preparation of national, district, and community level
disaster response contingency plans;
 Facilitation of the planning and implementation of Disaster Response
Interventions, based on the Disaster Cycle;
 Separation of the planning and coordination of Rapid-Onset Disasters from
Slow-Onset Disasters, and allocation of responsibilities accordingly;
 Tracking the cost of all Disaster Response interventions by all stakeholders,
phase by phase, in order to estimate the cost of a particular disaster, and for
better judgement of the management costs of each phase.
Directorate of M & E, Research and Planning
The responsibilities of this directorate are:
• Monitor, Analyse and Evaluate data at different stages of the disaster •
• Undertake impact assessments of all disaster management response
• Provide information and reports to the data bank and relevant authorities and
• Collate and document lessons and experiences of implementing disaster
response interventions by all stakeholders and use these to update data bank
and institutional memory;
• Undertake applied research related to disaster management; •
• Monitor and undertake applied research on the impacts of Climate Change
and Environmental Revolution in relation to Disaster Management;
• Make appropriate recommendations for action. e. Directorate of DM
Education, Training & Capacity Building The responsibilities of this
Directorate are:
• To establish systematically a structured corps of professional and technical
disaster management personnel;
• Promote systematic functional education for Disaster Management in formal
and public educational systems;
• Promote sensitization and public awareness on Disaster Management in
liaison with Government and all stakeholders, including the Media, NGOs,
CSOs, CBOs, and FBOs;
• To implement appropriate training at all levels for practical, technical
Disaster Management through structured courses;
• Undertake periodic audits of the qualifications for DM technical and
professional personnel, with a view to upgrading and sustaining acceptable
and effective standards;
• To promote and uphold the ethos and ethics of the code of conduct for
acceptable procedures and operations in DM; and
• To facilitate and eliminate deficiencies in capacity building at all levels,
through standardised and officially-approved DM courses and curricula.
Directorate of Finance and Administration
The responsibilities of this directorate are:
 Establish administrative procedures and guidelines for the whole of
 Establish financial procedures and guidelines for NADIMA;
 Facilitate effective and timely disbursement of funds within all the
 Facilitate regular audits of staff’ skills, human resource requirements,
equipment as well as financial in order to enhance effectiveness and
efficiency of the organisation;
 Together with the Board of Trustees of the National Disaster Management
and Contingency Funds, establish procedures for the management of the
funds and financial disbursements to relevant institutions in the disasteraffected areas;
 Support the management of the National Disaster Contingency Fund as may
be required, from time to time.
The National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
The National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is a stakeholder’s forum for
consultation, negotiation, mediation and consensus building on disaster risk
reduction. The Platform will work within the Ministry of State for Special
The broad objectives of the forum will be to: • Promote and enhance education, public awareness and advocacy of disaster
 Obtain commitment from the public leadership to disaster risk reduction.
 Stimulate and strengthen multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral partnerships
and networks for Disaster Risk Reduction at all levels.
 Improve dissemination and understanding of natural and man-made causes
of disasters, and their related effects upon vulnerable communities.
 Plan dissemination of information on Disaster Risk Reduction
 Play an advisory role to all the stakeholders on DRR Membership of the
National Platform is drawn from all the Line Ministries, NGOs, and CBOs.
National Disaster Advisory Council
This council will act as an advisory body to the National Coordinating Committee.
It will be chaired by the PS MOSSP and will have representation from:
Heads of the UN agencies and other development partners,
Secretary General KRC,
Director of NEMA,
Trade Union Representative (Secretary General of UKCS and COTU);
and Vice chancellors of relevant universities.
Its functions will include:
• Advisory provision to NDCC based on international standards;
• Discuss financial resource mobilization strategy for DM; and
• Advise on critical policies being developed by the government.
NOTE: This is a National Ad hoc Advisory Committee (as and when needed) to
the Permanent Secretary, MOSSP.
There are various governmental and non-governmental agencies in the country
involved in disaster management activities; but largely in an uncoordinated,
reactive and sectoral framework. The same is true of line Ministries which have
mainstreamed Disaster Management:
In the Office of the President there is the National Disaster Operations Centre
(NDOC), Arid Lands Resource Management Project (ARLMP);
In the Ministry of Northern Kenya Development and Other Arid Lands, and in the
Ministry of State for Special Programmes are the Department of Relief and
Rehabilitation, National Aids Control Council (NACC) and NEMA in the Ministry
of Environment and Mineral Resources.
It is also acknowledged that, among others, the Ministries responsible for
Agriculture, Local Government, Regional Development, Environment and Natural
Resources, Labour and Human Resource Development, Trade and Industry,
Health, Roads and Public Works, Transport, Information and Communication,
Tourism and Wildlife, Energy, Finance, Planning and National Development,
Lands and Housing, Education, Science and Technology are involved in disaster
management. In addition, IGAD, UN Agencies and other bilateral partners and
international NGOs play a significant role in disaster management in Kenya.
The Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre was established in 1998 in response
to the El Nino rains to co-ordinate disaster management and response operations in
Kenya.The functions of NDOC are:
To co-ordinate and control of disaster response efforts,
To act as the command centre for all communications and information relating
to response operations, and
To liaise with responsible ministries on national response efforts.
The responsibilities of the NDOC include:
Coordination at the national level of all disaster management activities before,
during and after the disaster
Ensuring that all personnel and volunteer agencies are informed of the
activation of disaster contingency plans
Translating the decisions of the National Disaster Coordinating Committee
(NDCC) into action and/or instructions and ensuring that those instructions are
transmitted and carried out by the Ministries/Departments to whom they are
Preparing all inventories of resources and assets countrywide
Developing a prioritised list of needs for donors to meet shortfalls in relief
Preparation of evacuation plans, shelter and refugee areas including
identification of executing agencies
Arranging clearance for aircraft, ships as well as customs and visa clearance for
overseas relief personnel and agencies
Preparation of media programmes for public information and press briefings at
the centre
Carrying out an annual review, evaluation and validation of national and
sectoral disaster mitigation plans with a view of improving their effectiveness
and efficiency
Preparing and issuing a daily situation report (SITREP) to the subscribing
National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU).
The National Disaster Management Unit was established by a Presidential
Directive communicated through letter Ref. No. CAB/NSC/14/2/32 dated 8th
August, 2013 as an effective and competent disaster management unit with an
established command structure, budget and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
based on best practices. The unit together with stakeholders formulated the
National Emergency / Disaster Plan and SOPs which were signed on 27th June
2014. The plan and SOPs recognizes the existence of other National and
contingency plans. The National plan and SOPs is anchored in the medium term
plan phase two of vision 2030 where it promotes safety, security and protecting
Kenyan assets from adverse impacts of hazards and disasters.
The plan and SOPs is aligned to the strategic objectives of the Ministry of Interior
and Coordination of National Government and protects social, economic and
political pillars of our country. It also provides a clear leadership, command,
control and coordinated approach to disaster mitigation, prevention, preparedness,
response and recovery. The SOPs within the plan provides a strategic, operational
and tactical guide for National Disaster Management Unit, government agencies
and private partners during emergency incidents in the country.
Background of national disaster management unit (NDMU)
In the past, Kenya has experienced many hazardous and emergency events that
have led to loss of lives, displacement of people and property destruction. In most
of those incidences there was lack of proper leadership, coordination, command
and control. There were existing gaps in disaster risk management and lack of use
of best practice in management of emergencies and disaster.
It is in this view that H.E The President of The Republic of Kenya, Hon. Uhuru
Kenyatta, C.G.H, President and Commander-In-Chief of the Defence Force of the
Republic of Kenya, directed the establishment of an inter-agency unit led by the
National Police Service collaborating with stakeholders before, during and after
emergency and disasters in Kenya..
1. To coordinate all DRM issues in the country
2. To advice the National and County Governments, private sector and all
stakeholders in DRM.
3. To coordinate, collect, review and analyze information relevant to DRM.
4. To establish a National Early warning and emergency community system
5. To promote disaster risk management capacity building, training and
education throughout the country including in school.
6. To promote and strengthen linkages with key state department, international
organizations, counties, wards and community based disaster management
7. To promote research into all aspects of disaster management.
8. To oversee regular drills and exercises in all public establishments
Kenya Red Cross
Kenya Red Cross is one of the many International Red Cross and Red Crescent
Movement societies around the world. The Kenya organisation was established in
1965,[1] The Kenya Red Cross supports and runs a number of projects whilst
raising awareness to the Kenyan public about the current issues or problems which
may affect them. Some of the projects which are either run by or assisted by the
Kenya Red Cross are Famine, blood services, first aid projects, disaster and
emergency services and education services.
The patron of the Kenya Red Cross is Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya. A
council administers and performs a limited number of duties, and is made up of the
Secretary General and twelve voting members. All other responsibilities are held
by the Board which consists of 16 persons.
To supplement its humanitarian efforts, Kenya Red Cross launched a state-of-the
art and first of its kind humanitarian app; the KRCS App that offers users real-time
emergency alerts and life-saving tips, activities, easy access to Membership and
Volunteerism, events and training from Kenya Red Cross, job posts plus different
groups such as blood groups, youth groups and volunteer groups where members
can connect and share ideas.
The mission of the Kenya Defence Forces is to defend and protect the sovereignty
and territorial integrity of the Republic, assist and cooperate with other authorities
in situations of emergency or disaster and restore peace in any part of Kenya
affected by unrest or instability as assigned. KDF comprises the armed forces of
the country: Army, Navy and Air Force.
The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) is a public body
established by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) Act, 2016. It
previously operated under the State Corporations Act (Cap 446) of the Laws of
Kenya by Legal Notice Number 171 of November 24, 2011. The Act gives the
NDMA the mandate to exercise overall coordination over all matters relating to
drought risk management and to establish mechanisms, either on its own or with
stakeholders, that will end drought emergencies in Kenya.
The history of Kenya’s work on drought management goes back to 1985, with the
design of a drought contingency planning system in Turkana. In the early 1990s
this system was extended to other arid districts with the support of the Netherlands
government. It was then expanded further by the Emergency Drought Recovery
Project (from 1992) and its successor, the ALRMP, both of them supported by the
World Bank. By end of Phase II of the ALRMP, the drought management system
was covering 28 arid and semi-arid districts (now 23 counties).
This series of short-term, project-based interventions were being carried out at a
time when drought periods were becoming increasingly frequent and intense,
directly affecting the household food security and livelihoods of more than ten
million people. The government therefore recognised the need to strengthen the
sustainability and quality of drought management in Kenya by establishing the
National Drought Management Authority (NDMA).
The NDMA provides a platform for long-term planning and action, as well as a
mechanism for solid coordination across Government and with all other
stakeholders. The Authority has established offices in 23 ASAL counties
considered vulnerable to drought.
Drought resilience
The government recognises that the key to effective drought management is to
reduce risk and build resilience by investing in sustainable development in
drought-prone areas and by mainstreaming risk reduction into processes of
development planning and resource allocation. NDMA;
1. Mainstreams drought risk reduction and climate adaptation into planning
2. Implements social protection programmes with chronically food insecure
3. Implements strategic projects that reduce risk or strengthen preparedness for
Drought information
The Authority generates, consolidates
warning information through;
1. Managing and operating the drought early warning system and provides timely
and credible early warning information on drought risks.
2. Coordinating and participating in twice-yearly, multi-stakeholder national and
county food security assessments.
3. Publishing monthly bulletins that communicate the current drought status
(Normal, Alert, Alarm, Emergency, Recovery)
4. Determining livelihood zones and develop drought vulnerability database
Drought contingency planning and response
Specific activities must be carried out in response to early warning information at
different stages of the drought cycle which, in combination with preparations made
by communities, can significantly reduce the impact of drought. The Authority;
1. Operationalises the Drought Contingency Fund within the proposed National
Drought Contingency Fund
2. Facilitates multi-stakeholder contingency planning in each county
3. Provides contingency finance to counties against their plans
4. Provides guidance and standards for all drought practitioners in Kenya
Civil Society Organizations CSOs
Civil Society Organizations CSOs in Kenya have significant levels of capacities
and resources to apply to all phases of the disaster management cycle. Many have
decentralized structures, with professional human resources capacities spread
across the country up to the sub county and county levels. A few such
organizations have well established mandate for DM through Acts of parliament
such as the KRCS which under this mandate is auxiliary to the government in
disaster management related issues
The Role of NGOs in Disaster Risk Reduction
The key role which communities play in disaster management and disaster risk
reduction is strongly acknowledged by the ISDR secretariat, whose vision is to
“enable all communities to become resilient to the effects of natural hazards,
technological and environmental disasters.” Experiences show that
communitybased approaches offer viable solutions for managing and reducing
risks and ensuring sustainable development.
Today, an increasingly predominant view is that for risk reduction strategies to be
truly effective in protecting lives and livelihoods, they need to be people centred.
They need to build on people’s local knowledge and cultural practices, and apply
tools and approaches that people can easily understand and integrate into their
lives. Conversely, disaster reduction using top-down government and institutional
interventions alone are often considered insufficient as they tend to have a lower
understanding of community dynamics, perceptions and needs, and ignore the
potential of local knowledge and capacities
NGOs’ involvement in DRR activities has proved beneficial for a number of
reasons, including the following:
NGOs can operate at grassroots level with communities and local organizations as
partners, and take a participatory approach to development planning. This allows
them to respond better to local people’s priorities and build on local capacities.
NGOs enjoy higher operational flexibility as they are relatively free from
bureaucratic structures and systems, and better able to respond and adapt quickly
and easily.
NGOs often work with and on behalf of most needy groups: the poorest and the
most vulnerable.
Overall, the following broad areas of intervention have been identified as being the
ones in which NGOs appear to be more actively involved:
Policy and advocacy
Knowledge and education
Community-based risk and vulnerability assessment
Community-based mitigation and preparedness
Policy & Advocacy
A number of NGOs have been very active in advocating for better DRR policies
and practices at the international level. Some played a key role in lobbying at the
January 2005 World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan, as well as
in the follow-up of and implementation mechanisms for the Conference’s
outcomes. As a result of these efforts, there is certainly an increased recognition
today of the need to mainstream DRR into development planning
Knowledge & Education
As the January 2005 World Conference on Disaster Reduction concluded,
“disasters can be substantially reduced if people are well informed and motivated
towards a culture of disaster prevention and resilience, which in turn requires the
collection, compilation and dissemination of relevant knowledge and information
on hazards, vulnerabilities and capacities”. There is indeed a strong
recommendation that DRR knowledge should be introduced into school curricula
and that other formal and informal channels should be used to reach youth and
Community-Based Vulnerability & Risk Assessment
As mentioned earlier, a broad consensus is emerging in favour of communitybased DRR approaches, since it is at community level that physical, social and
economic risks can be adequately assessed and managed. Over the last decade,
growing recognition of the necessity of enhanced community participation for
sustainable disaster reduction has often been translated into some actions to carry
out community-based vulnerability and risk assessments
Community-Based Mitigation & Preparedness
Pioneering initiatives in community-based disaster mitigation (and preparedness)
have been developed as of the 1980s to advocate for an alternative approach to
disaster management. Good practices in community-based approaches to disaster
mitigation and preparedness (DMP) highlight key success factors such as applying
best practice methodologies of community development to community-based
DMP, respecting traditional organizational structures and mechanisms (including
formal and informal community leaders), and undertaking capability building
activities with community disaster committees and volunteers
In its development, the field of humanitarian issue and disaster risk management
begun to take into account religious considerations. It is evident in the way
scholars began to think about the role of Christian Church in the development in
Africa and began to regard liberation theology as force of change. 2 In December
2009, Center for Community Risk and Security at RMIT University organized a
forum in the World’s Parliament of Religions with the theme of Faith, Community
and Disaster Risk Reduction’. Here, the speakers highlighted the importance of
relation between religion and disaster. The importance lies on religious
interpretation on disaster and the role of Faith-Based Organizations in disaster
mitigation, anticipation, response, as well as post-disaster rehabilitation and
reconstruction. Western Paradigm about disaster places human beings dealing with
the nature. Natural disasters like flood and fire are seen as dangers that must be
conquered. In contrast, in the ancient spiritualism and many native traditions,
human life is inseparable from nature. Instead of being perceived as “the act of
God,” natural disaster is regarded as consequence of destruction on nature by the
hands of human beings. Here, the earth pays back human’s carelessness, ignorance,
and greed with floods and other disasters. In line with that, we often find effective
disaster mitigation strategies in the tradition of Native communities. Singas Village
in Papua New Guinea for instance, is prone to flood. For generations, their houses
were built on an assembly point above the hill to be used during the flood. Now,
heavy rains and river flows can be monitored by advanced technology and can be
informed to public through a good early warning system. The World perception in
looking at water as primary source of life instead of hazards has equipped many
people in the village with skill to mitigate disaster.