The Pacific is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. Small, vulnerable island states are isolated by vast expanses of ocean. They experience frequent and intense disasters with disproportionately high economic, social and environmental consequences.
In 1999, OCHA established an office for the Pacific (OP) to mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors.
Emergency Preparedness & Response
The first responders in any emergency are disaster-affected people and their governments. OCHA’s key objective is to support national efforts to protect the lives, livelihoods and dignity of people in need. International assistance can only be mobilized when a request is made by the affected government.
OCHA maintains a surge support capacity that allows the international humanitarian system to establish quick links with affected countries. It does this through the response capacity of its staff in the Pacific, the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) system, OCHA global staff, standby partners, and through the coordination of Pacific Humanitarian Team clusters and member organizations. This flexible approach allows OCHA to find different and appropriate solutions for assistance requests across the Pacific.
OCHA OP personnel can provide support in information management, reporting, mapping, media and communications, assessments, humanitarian financing and inter-cluster coordination. OCHA can deploy UNDAC teams at short notice to assist in the coordination of incoming international relief at the earliest stages of an emergency.
OCHA’s dedicated information management personnel work with governments and other key partners on products and services that support coordination between responding humanitarian organizations and the response operation. These include contact lists, assessments, financial tracking, meeting schedules, and more. Other tools, such as the humanitarian action plan (HAP) and maps are also made available to support effective humanitarian action.
To improve the timeliness, effectiveness and predictability of humanitarian response in the region, OCHA Pacific established the Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT) in 2008. The PHT brings together humanitarian actors in the region to support Pacific Island governments in the coordination of humanitarian action using a regional cluster approach.