Yemen: A Less Painful Approach To Planning For Emergencies

News and Press Release
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Published on 17 November 2010

WFP's Yemen office was an ideal candidate to pilot the organisation's new emergency planning package. Facing conflict, insecurity, refugees, drought, serious food insecurity , the Yemen operation is a microcosm of all the challenges WFP faces.

ROME -- Yemen Country Director Giancarlo Cirri was less than thrilled about having his team be the guinea pigs for a new package designed to enhance planning for emergencies, fearing that it would produce a document that would be forgotten about when an emergency actually happened.

But after going through the process, he now praises the package for establishing clear, concrete steps to take. "It's also proving to be a management tool. It's a workplan, making us collectively review our analysis of a very complex emergency country more formally and regularly, taking steps as we need to."

The package integrates the three processes that existed independently before: Contingency Planning, Business Continuity Planning and Risk Analysis.

But it is Risk Analysis that really underpins everything. "We sat down with the staff in Yemen and identified and ranked each risk as to likelihood and impact," explains Andrea Bagnoli, a Rome-based Emergency Preparedness and Response Officer. "Then we worked with each of the Country Office units to guide them through the 'Minimum Preparedness Measures' which are compulsory under the new Package. "

This approach generated staff ownership of the process. "Staff from Human Resources and Finance, for example, told us that they had never been involved in emergency preparedness planning before and it's clear they so really need to be. For example, who would be the person you would turn to find extra drivers and cars in an emergency - someone from one of these units. "The Yemen Country Office staff then went through a series of Checklists, which helped assess the level of preparedness.

"In the past the information for those extra cars and drivers would have been in someone's head or on their computer, and if they can't get to the WFP office, even such simple