International assistance: Management of supplies
This chapter focuses on the management of humanitarian supplies in emergency operations using an approach and methodology developed in the Americas. It also focuses on the management of information for decision making and on the need for an integrated management of humanitarian supplies. Crisis management involves decision-making under uncertainty. Uncertainty implies unavailability of reliable information, and an oversupply of rumours, hearsay, or unfounded statements. In most countries a national policy on supply management is absent or inappropriate; there are no procedures, personnel or resources available, or they are scarce and badly organised. Several steps or functions are required to ensure proper supply management. First, co-ordinators should register assessed needs and requests made and match them with pledges from interested donors. Getting the assistance on the right time has an enormous impact on living conditions of the affected population, and even more, very often it means the difference between life and death.