Government guidelines released for NGO involvement in disaster relief

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On the 28th of December 2017, the “Action guideline for social forces to participate in front-line disaster relief”(《社会力量参与一线救灾行动指南》)was issued in Beijing, indicating that a consensus had been reached on non-governmental disaster relief action.

In recent years, reports the China Philanthropy Times, various social forces have been participating in disaster relief operations with increasing enthusiasm. Confronted with a series of natural disasters, non-governmental organizations have played a significant role, thanks to the advantages of their flexibility and of being able to provide a diverse range of services. At the same time, though, the effectiveness of disaster relief operations has been affected by a lack of standardisation.

For the sake of perfecting the relevant mechanisms and promoting disaster relief operations efficiently and orderly, the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation has worked alongside another 16 foundations and social organisations and several universities, and formulated a new guideline under the supervision of the Department of Disaster Relief in the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The Guideline draws upon the experiences of disaster relief operations conducted by social forces, and sets five basic principles and eighteen concrete action guidelines.

The five principles are as follows: first of all, as forces that supplement government disaster relief operations, social forces should implement their work in an orderly fashion under the government’s direction. Secondly, they are supposed to conduct rescue operations to the extent that is in their power, without taking actions that go beyond their capacity and don’t bring any practical help to the disaster areas. Thirdly, priority should be given to local rescue forces, so that efficiency can be improved. Fourthly, the disaster relief operations should be demand-oriented and respect human life. Lastly, social forces should be self-disciplined and actively accept social supervision. The eighteen action guidelines include critical procedures and measures for five areas: contingency reserves, starting responses, rescue operations, evacuation and the issuing of information.

The China Philanthropy Times concluded its report on this issue by saying that the Guidelines embody the wisdom and experience of various institutions, and they can promote standards and capabilities for disaster relief operations.