COPING WITH NATURAL DISASTERS: THE ROLE OF LOCAL HEALTH PERSONNEL AND THE COMMUNITY
( By A Working Guide (WHO - OMS, 1989) )

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Chapter 3.Coordination of groups from outside

Assistance from external groups (volunteers, associations) is important. However, steps must be taken to avoid each acting on its own account, without coordination, sometimes in competition or downright conflict. Especially when the community is poor and weakly organized, groups from outside may provoke serious imbalances, cause splits or induce dependence.

The ideal is for the coordination committee to be able to coordinate and guide the activities of the outside groups. When a community has lost its bearings, an essential task for the outside groups is to encourage the local authority, the local health personnel and the community and help them to organize so as to regain control of the situation. However, the community will be unable to coordinate disparate groups with their separate aims, resources and funding, unless the national government makes it obligatory for outside groups to consult the committees in the stricken communities and to act only with their consent.

International bodies can play an important role by themselves consulting the local committees and inviting the donors and outside groups to do the same.


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