How to evaluate on-site response coordination?

In disaster response, both at national and international level, on-site coordination is key for an effective response. But what makes a good on-site coordination? At Enquirya we have been analyzing both national and international approaches.

In the case of international disaster response, there are standards set by the UN for INSARAG-teams. The IEC Checklist (link) defines a number of evaluation questions for on-site coordination in heading 11 (RDC and OSOCC Coordination and Planning):

  • Does the USAR team have trained staff and dedicated equipment to establish and operate a provisional Reception and DC and On-Site Operation Coordination Centre in accordance with the OSOCC Guidelines?
  • Does the USAR team undertake assessments and disseminate the information to the OSOCC and LEMA?
  • Does the USAR team ensure a representative is present at the OSOCC during USAR coordination meetings?
  • Does the USAR team’s medical management coordinate activities with relevant local health authorities?
  • Does the USAR team management exercise a continuous command and control system over the full range of his/her sites of operation?

Key to these questions are the ability to run an coordination centre, sharing of information, presence at meetings, coordination with local stakeholders and command & control on operations.

At national level, we found that in the case of disaster response:

  1. Similar evaluation questions are asked, but these are often much more detailed and;
  2. Additional evaluation questions are asked on the decision making process, on information management and unpartisan leadership.

Usually, this prompts the questions why at national level the questions seem to be more detailed or why they are not at international level. However, prompts in response a non-productive discussion about international politics, that does not lead anywhere.

I would propose to ask another question: what does it take to have more detailed evaluation questions at international level? What do you think?