What is the Emergency Platform?


The aim of the Emergency Platform is to improve the quality, predictability and timeliness of DRC’s emergency response.

The Emergency Platform website consists of policy, programme guidance, practical tools and templates outlining our way to implement emergency interventions. These are based on our collective experience built up over the last 20 years of operating in large-scale conflict-induced humanitarian emergencies.

The Platform is also the hub for real time exchange and learning across country operations. As such, it is primarily for internal use, but can be shared externally. Certain tools can accessed by DRC staff only via our links to our intranet – Insite.

The Emergency Platform is managed by the HQ Emergency Unit. Please send any comments to [email protected]


The DRC Platforms

In order to better lay out our strategic and programmatic ambitions, we have developed a Response Framework, under which we conceptualise our responses to current global displacement challenges through three complementary so-called “Programme Platforms” each focusing on; 1) Emergency 2) Protracted Displacement and Solutions and 3) Addressing Root Causes.

The three Platforms support the implementation of programmes responding to three different contextual displacement scenarios: acute crisis, protracted displacement and durable solutions. The Platforms are our way to conceptualise our programmatic approaches and thinking in a systematic way, and realise our overall vision and strategic objective. The Platforms overlap and complement each other.

The Emergency platform conceptualizes our lifesaving-focused programming, the Protracted Displacement and Solutions platform focuses on the ways by which we seek to reduce displacement-related risks and our Addressing Root Causes platform focuses on the root causes of displacement and ways to promote peaceful, inclusive and resilient societies. The Emergency Platform focus on short term interventions, while the latter two focus on long term solutions and resilience building and should, in order to be effective, build on developmental approaches and toolboxes.

NB: on the difference between programme support and operational support

In order to guide the emergency response two main sets of policies and procedures are in place;

– Operational (support) procedures, as guided by the Operations Handbook. The Head of Secretariat for Risk and Compliance is responsible for having in place operational support policies as reflected in the Operations Handbook.

– Programme and policy support is guided by the Programme Handbook and the Response Framework (the three programme Platforms). The Head of the Programme Division is responsible for developing programmatic concepts and strategies relevant to DRC’s international operations and deliver support to operations within these areas. However, the lead on developing and delivering emergency response policies, as reflected in the Emergency Platform is delegated to the Head of Emergency Unit (who in return coordinates with the other two Platform Leads as well as the Head of the Programme Division).

Organisational Setup

Emergency response in DRC is primarily driven from the field. DRC’s default policy, which also underpins the emergency platform, is that Country offices are responsible for initiating and carrying out an appropriate emergency response, whereas Regional offices are accountable. When a humanitarian emergency occurs within reach from existing DRC country or regional operations the Regional Director is thus accountable for ensuring that appropriate action is taken. In cases where the Regional office determines that the capacity or willingness to take appropriate action is not present at regional or country level, the concerned Regional office has an obligation to consult the Emergency Unit.

DRC’s presence in approximately 40 countries around the globe, affected by displacement, is the primary starting point for the organisation’s emergency response. Many DRC operations have ongoing emergency responses and can relatively easily scale up according to the needs – other operations are primarily engaged in solutions or addressing of root causes, and may need support to quickly redirect to delivering lifesaving activities. With support from the development and ongoing update of Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans (EPRP) all DRC operations must be ready to scale up or launch a new response, should an emergency occur within their reach.


Emergency Focal Points

All country operations must appoint an Emergency Focal Point who is in charge of facilitating the development of the EPRPs and subsequently updating them. The Emergency Focal Point is furthermore the link between the country operation and the Emergency Unit in HQ.

The role of the Emergency Unit

The Emergency Unit sits within the Division of Global Resources and Emergency Response (GRER) at DRC HQ. The Head of Emergencies is the Head of the Emergency Unit and is also the Global Specialist Lead for Emergency Response in DRC. In addition the HQ Emergency Unit is compromised of two global emergency advisors and one global emergency officer. The roving EMPACT team is managed by the Head of Emergencies. The core responsibilities of the Emergency Unit are:

  • Custodian of the Emergency Platform;
  • Support to country operations with policy and technical guidance on emergency preparedness and emergency response;
  • Start up emergency response operations that are not under country operations;
  • Take the lead on all or some aspects of an emergency response in existing DRC operations when mandated by the SMG;
  • Be the key actor – together with country teams – when a Corporate Emergency is declared;
  • Manage DRC’s Emergency Funds for quick disbursement;
  • Manage and coordinate the Surge staff pools that can be deployed in case of emergency.

How to navigate the platform

The platform has 5 main sections:


Describes DRC’s procedures related to early warning and preparedness, with tools for conducting emergency risk analyses and developing Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans.

2 Crisis

Outlines the decision making process leading to a DRC emergency response: from the situational analysis to selecting the appropriate response management scenario and defining roles at the global level.

3 Respond

Provides clear operational guidance relevant to field staff implementing emergency interventions, including:

  • Needs Assessments
  • Emergency standby resources available – both staff and financial;
  • Emergency Programming:
    • Context-based programming (camp, rural, urban contexts)
    • Needs assessments
    • DRC emergency sectors – programmatic guidance and resources
    • Cash transfer programming
    • M&E
  • Operational procedures and standards in emergencies – HR, finance, logistics, procurement and safety.
  • Coordination and information management.
  • Humanitarian accountability.

4 Recover

Looks at the eventual transition out of acute crisis mode into a situation with primary focus on recovery and solutions.

5 Tools and resources

The tools and resources contained in this section include useful links for emergency programming and operational guidance.

In addition to these tools and resources a more interactive and internal part of the emergency platform can be accessed for DRC staff through a dedicated page on INSITEThis contains:

  • Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans (EPRPs)
  • Real Time Reviews
  • Best practice emergency proposals
  • Emergency staff


Questions or feedback?

Comments, questions and feedback are most welcome. Please contact the HQ Emergency Unit at [email protected].