A rapid assessment process (RAP) to gather essential baseline data about the general situation in post-conflict Iraq has been developed for use by humanitarian agencies once they are able to enter the country.
"The rapid assessment form will enable humanitarian actors to establish a broad overview of the situation, a ‘common snapshot’ of humanitarian needs in post-conflict Iraq," Kathleen Miner of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), who is conducting training sessions in the Jordanian capital, Amman, for humanitarian workers on the use of the form, told IRIN.
The three-page form, similar to those which have been used to assess humanitarian needs in post-conflict situations in Eritrea, Kosovo, and Sierra Leone, has been further refined for use in Iraq through consultation among UN agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders.
"It’s not yet a perfect tool, but we’re getting close," Miner stated. "It helps humanitarian agencies to focus on the real situation on the ground rather than relying on speculation," she added, noting that the reality of post-conflict conditions are not always what people expected, varying from far better to far worse than what may have been anticipated.
Without being unduly burdensome to complete, the RAP seeks to capture basic information about locations and their populations in a wide variety of sectors, including health, nutrition, clean water, sanitation, shelter, economy, safety and security, damage to infrastructure, and current assistance – if any – being received.
OCHA's Humanitarian Information Centre (HIC) will then produce maps based on the data collected during the RAP, so it is extremely important to know the exact location of the places assessed. Coordinates can be captured by the use of Global Positioning System units.
All data collected will be entered in a central database by the Cyprus office of the HIC for Iraq. Narrative analysis of data will be provided by specialists in the 10 main sectors of humanitarian intervention: food, health, water/sanitation, refugees, internally displaced persons, nutrition, education, child protection, fuel, and mine action. This and other regularly updated information on the humanitarian situation will be made available by the HIC at www.agoodplacetostart.org
The HIC is an initiative of OCHA to act as a central location for data and information resources, with the aim of reinforcing coordination and humanitarian response activities in post-conflict situations.