This section contains practical information on the management of humanitarian supplies. It was prepared by the Humanitarian Supply System, to help both donors and recipients when a disaster occurs.
Preparing and dispatching donated supplies
- When packing supplies, use materials resistant enough to withstand the journey and the handling that the parcels will suffer.
- Prepare a packing list describing the contents, ideally broken down by parcel.
- Insert the packing list in one of the parcels and mark it "Packing List." Protect this list inside a water-resistant envelope.
- Make parcels of a weight, size, and form that can be handled by one person (between 25 kg - 50 kg maximum). Remember that very often in the field, there is no equipment to unload and handle cargo.
- Pack supplies in separate parcels according to their nature (clothes, drugs, food, personal needs, etc.)
- Identify parcels that belong to the same consignment with consecutive numbers that relate to the total number of parcels in the shipment (i.e., on a consignment of 100 parcels, number 1/100, 2/100, 3/100, 4/100 and so on up to 100/100).
- Label visibly every parcel with the name, address and telephone of the sender and the consignee, and any other specific characteristics of the cargo: fragile, urgent, need refrigeration, etc.
- Inform consignees about the dispatch of every single shipment. Include information about the consignment (packing list, number of parcels, etc.), how it was sent (type, company, characteristics, person in charge, etc.), its exact destination, arrival point and estimated time of arrival.
- Verify and provide any special needs for the transport of the supplies (i.e. refrigeration).
- Don't send any supplies that have not been requested by the disaster-stricken country.
- Don't mix together in the same parcel items of a different nature (drugs, food, clothes, etc.)
- Don't clog relief channels with donations that are not urgently needed.