Double Activation of the Standby Task Force: WHO-Libya & OCHA-Colombia

The Standby Volunteer Task Force has just been activated by two major partners: the World Health Organization (WHO) in Libya and the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Colombia.

WHO-Libya: This activation is not in response to an acute emergency but rather related to preparedness and health system status in Libya. The goal of the project is to get a final Health Facility Registry GIS layer for Libya with the location type and name of the Health Centers across the country along with their status. This is an important step towards providing local communities with the crucial public health services they require.

To this end, our colleagues at WHO have been trying to compile a basic data layer of health facilities. This layer will include health facilities that were in place before the revolution. Once complete, WHO will use this data layer to carry out an assessment of the actual situation in the field to identify which health facilities are still operational and which ones aren’t. They plan to collect sufficient data to develop an appropriate strategy for rapid recovery of Libya’s public health system.

WHO has thus asked the SBTF and HOT/OSM to help them identify relevant information to create this basic data layer of health facilities. The deployment of the SBTF will continue through to January 15th, 2012. For this deployment the SBTF teams activated are the Task Team and the Geo-Location Team, but all volunteers are encouraged to participate. The work consists in doing web-based research, which means that SBTF volunteers need not have prior crisis mapping experience.

OCHA-Colombia: This activation is specifically for Spanish-speaking volunteers of the SBTF. The purpose is to support the UN’s efforts in mapping the impact of the floods and resulting needs. This information will be shared by other UN partners, various local and international NGOs and a number of government entities. The resulting information will constitute an important input for the decision-making process and for undertaking specific actions to support disaster-affected communities. Note that OCHA-Colombia will be managing this deployment and providing the necessary training.

This double-activation of the SBTF is a first for us, not to mention just days before the holiday period for many of our volunteers. As with other deployments, we’ll do our best to support our humanitarian partners and will take this as an opportunity to learn and improve our workflows. For a list of previous SBTF deployments, please see this link. To join the SBTF, simply follow this link.

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