Emergency Response Policy


Emergencies can be on any scale, affecting a single household or a local community, causing disruption at a local, regional or even national level. Emergencies are defined as life threatening situations which put people at risk of death or severe deterioration in their health status or living conditions, and which have the potential to outstrip the normal coping capacity of the individual, family, community and state support systems. Emergencies may affect men and women differently, and they in turn have differing ways of coping with emergencies. The Gambia Red Cross must be able to act in all these life threatening situations regardless of the scope of the emergency, and its actions must be governed by the same policy regardless of the size and level of the response.


This emergency response policy establishes the basis of the Gambia Red Cross emergency response and applies to all types of National Society’s response whether carried out by a Community Base Disaster Team, by a single branch of the National Society or by a National Society acting collectively.

The Gambia Red Cross Society each Branches of National Society shall:

Seek to assist the most vulnerable people in emergencies. The Gambia Red cross Society Emergency Response seeks to protect the life and health of the individual and to ensure respect for the individual through assisting those most affected in obtaining adequate access to basic life support needs if available. These encompass at a minimum:
● Adequate safe water and sanitation.
● Adequate food.
● Adequate health care including psychological support.
● Adequate shelter.
● Assistance must be carried out in a manner that does not add to the threat of violence against the
  assisted population.

Recognize the Red Cross role as auxiliary to government in humanitarian services and thus will not replace or undermine state responsibilities where the potential for appropriate state action exists. In addition, it will not normally replace or duplicate the work that other humanitarian agencies are mandated to carry out.

Undertake emergency response according to the Fundamental Principles of the Gambia National Disaster response procedures, the principles of Red Cross and Red Crescent and apply the principles and spirit of the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief.

Work within the competence of the National Society, the International Federation, Government, Security and other Humanitarians organizations .Rely on, but not be limited by, local capabilities and coping mechanisms. Programme beneficiaries, men and women, must be meaningfully involved in the planning and implementation of emergency response.

Base their actions on appropriate disaster preparedness programming and planning. The Gambia Red Cross Society emergency response programmes are designed and implemented to
maximize the possibility of beneficiaries speedily returning to their normal lifestyles.

Work towards self reliance and sustainability of programming by both the National
Society and the assisted population taking into account the long term effect of emergency assistance on future development opportunities. The Gambia Red Cross Society should support efforts to actively plan and pursue their capacity building during emergency assistance operations.

Continue until the acute threat to life and health has abated or, in situations of prolonged threat, until the needs can be more appropriately addressed within the framework of rehabilitation mechanisms with the National Disaster Management Agency.

Maximize the strategic advantage of the Gambia National Disaster Policy by ‘working as a team’ to mobilize all appropriate resources, including the regional structures of the National Society, while ultimately building on the capacity of the Operating Braches.

Financial resources

The primary tool for the Gambia Red Cross Society emergency response fund-raising is the local and international Emergency Appeal. National Appeals are launched nationally by the National Society. International Appeals are launched by the Federation Secretariat. The Appeal process is governed by National Society regulations and, internationally, by the Principles and Rules for Disaster Relief.

Human resources

Recognizing the vital role of human resources in emergency operations, the Gambia Red Cross Society must ensure the proper identification, placement, retention, development, support, administration and management of suitably qualified, trained and experienced personnel to work in the service of the most vulnerable. The National Society must be constantly vigilant to minimize the risk to the safety and security of volunteers and staff working for the programmes.

Information resources

The Gambia Red Cross Society recognizes data and information as key resources in its emergency response. It is committed to making the Red Cross a reliable and timely source of disaster related information. GRCS will adapt the Federation’s Information systems will be designed and implemented in order to maximize:
● The speed, efficiency and effectiveness of emergency response.
● The security and safety of beneficiaries, staff, volunteers and fixed assets.
● The timeliness, accuracy and clarity of reporting and accountability systems.
● The involvement of beneficiaries and local organizations.

Physical resources

The Gambia Red Cross Society policy dictates that the need for physical resources is well defined, that quality standards are ensured, that delivery is timely, that stocks are adequately maintained and distribution controlled. Physical assets not used in the emergency response programme or surplus to operational requirements, as the programme scales down, should be deployed to support other emergency programmes when no longer needed for the emergency at hand, subject to national government regulation. Consistent with the above, the impact of local purchase upon the local economy and well-being of the population should be assessed to ensure that such actions do not cause undue harm. Programme officials should refrain from creating duplicate infrastructures when government or other existing humanitarian organizations can provide the necessary support.

National Society and the regional branches have a responsibility to ensure that all emergency response operations and programmes are carried out in compliance with this policy; that all staff and volunteers participating in emergency response programmes are aware of the rationale and details of the policy; and that all relevant governmental, inter-governmental and nongovernmental partners are adequately informed of this policy.

This policy will be adopted by evaluation of the policy
The policy replaces all previously established emergency response policies.

Further reference texts
■ The Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief;
■ The Principles and Rules for Red Cross Red Crescent disaster relief,
■ The Food Aid and Nutrition Policy,
Gambia National Disaster Management Policy


Copyright 2011 The Gambia Red Cross Society Developed By Allan R. Caulker - Unique Solutions