Located within OCHA's offices, the purpose of the centre is to create a space for the exchange of vital information among humanitarian actors operating in eastern DRC in order to better coordinate aid to and advocacy for vulnerable populations.
OCHA said that one problem encountered when coordinating the response to any humanitarian emergency was the lack of timely, accurate and relevant information. In order to overcome this problem, OCHA has in recent years opened these centres in areas of complex humanitarian emergencies.
Items now available at the Goma centre include the database, "Who Does What Where", as well as a contact list of humanitarian agencies, maps, reports, books, brochures, and even mailboxes for correspondence among organizations.
In the near future, OCHA-Goma hopes to provide up-to-date maps of humanitarian activities and statistics; a photocopier; and an Internet connection for two to three computers.
"So that the information of the HIC may be as useful and accurate as possible, OCHA-Goma is calling on the humanitarian community to provide information of a non-confidential nature to the HIC on a regular basis," Megan Scott, the OCHA-Goma information officer, told IRIN.
OCHA is part of the UN Secretariat and has the mandate to coordinate UN assistance in humanitarian crises that go beyond the capacity and mandate of any single humanitarian agency.
There are three major ways in which OCHA fulfils its role: it coordinates the international humanitarian response, including contingency planning when appropriate; it provides the humanitarian community with support in policy development; it advocates on humanitarian issues, giving voice to the silent victims of crises and ensuring that the views and concerns of the broad humanitarian community are reflected in overall efforts towards recovery and peace-building.
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