Ensuring inclusion of older people in initial emergency needs assessments

Manual and Guideline
Originally published
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This manual produced with funding from the European Community’s Humanitarian Office (ECHO) provides guidance for the implementation of three key action points to formulate an initial emergency needs assessment that includes older people.

  • Collect sex and age-disaggregated Data (SADD) of the population in emergency-affected areas from national population data sources.
  • Make initial assessments ageing sensitive by using methods for estimating SADD in contexts where such data has not been collected during the preparedness phase. Take steps to ensure an age-sensitive approach to community-based primary data collection.
  • Conduct an ageing sensitive analysis of the assessment data to provide a clear picture of the needs of older people and other vulnerable groups in the crisis.

The aim of this guidance is therefore to ensure that the specific vulnerabilities and capacities of older people in emergencies are fully taken into account as part of a thorough gender and age analysis of humanitarian needs.

It can be utilised whether agencies are engaged in coordinated assessments through the Multi-cluster Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) methodology or whether they carry out individual assessments applying any of the different existing methodologies within their organisations.

Older people constitute a significant and growing number of those affected by humanitarian crises. About 12.5 % of the world’s population is aged 60 or over; more than 22% are aged 50 or over. By 2050, there will be more older people over 60 than children, including a significant number over 80, who constitute the fastest-growing age group.

HelpAge's experience shows that if older people and other vulnerable groups are not considered from the very outset of a response, their chances of being included in initial programming or even in later assessments are drastically reduced. The result is an on-going exclusion of older people from humanitarian assistance.