How 3 seasoned aid workers prepare for mission in a conflict zone

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 09 February 2016

Over the past two years, more than 2.8 million people have been displaced as swathes of Iraqi territory fall in and out of the government’s control in battles against armed opposition groups. Photo by: Stringer / Reuters

When Pranav Shetty gets ready to deploy for a new mission, he receives a kit from his employer containing a satellite phone, Internet device, solar charger, plug converters, GPS tracking device, water filter, tent and sleeping bag.

The kit’s provisions are part of the International Medical Corps’ emergency deployment procedure, particularly for on-call staff required for immediate deployment like Shetty, the organization’s senior technical coordinator for emergency response. Shetty, for his part, makes sure he packs clothes that suit the climate in-country, and carries extra food and medicines such as antibiotics and antimalarial drugs for emergencies located in malaria prone areas. He also reads up on country specifics — language, currency, ethnic makeup — on the plane as part of his program preparations.

But conflict zones require extra precautions and preparations. And for aid workers considering working or assigned to work in such an environment — likely inevitable given the increasing concentration of humanitarian needs and resources in fragile and conflict settings — the seasoned aid worker’s suggestion was: Do it with a reputable organization that has done it before and has made careful assessment of the place of deployment.

“A conflict setting is not a place to try out new things, especially from a security perspective,” he told Devex.

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About the author

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Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.

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