Preparatory activities must begin with the emergency transport needs assessment. A needs assessment should answer the questions below. A detailed guideline to carry out this assessment can be found in Annex A: Guidelines for a need assessment. (see attachments at the bottom of the page)
What are our relief activities, related to Coronavirus?
Before you can determine if your organisation has the capacity to respond, you first need to understand what relief operations your organisation will conduct as part of the Coronavirus response. At the same time, it could also be that some ongoing relief programmes will be put on hold during the Coronavirus response.
As a fleet manager, you are advised to sit together with your programme colleagues and build scenarios for the support that will be provided. This might include questions such as:
- How many people will likely be affected by the emergency? Which groups of people will be most vulnerable in the crisis?
- What will be the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic? What will be the priority concerns?
- What will our organisation do to reach beneficiaries?
- How often will we need to reach them?
- Has this country been affected by a similar emergency in the past years? For example: The West Africa Ebola response?
- In case our organisation was active during a similar emergency, what lessons were learned related to fleet management.
What external factors may hinder or facilitate fleet operations?
Many factors may hinder or, alternatively, facilitate fleet operations. For instance, the national authorities may restrict any movement in the country (so-called lockdown) including Humanitarian transport. Government may also ban foreign-based relief organizations form entering the country itself.
On the other hand, some governments may adopt extraordinary measures to facilitate the efforts of relief organizations and the arrival of humanitarian assistance into the country or the area where operations are underway. This would include lowering or eliminating tariffs and taxes.
As part of the needs assessment, you are advised to consider the political, economic, social, financial, environmental and technological factors will influence your organisation’s activities.
In addition, since government disaster response agencies are the ones entrusted with coordinating Coronavirus relief efforts, it is crucial for your organisation to take part in these efforts to establish solid links with the local or national agencies. The contacts can also be used to negotiate mutual cooperation agreements for emergency situations.
All the information compiled and the activities carried out in preparation stage should serve as the basis for the development of the Coronavirus fleet management plan, which must spell out procedures, responsibilities, and timetables for implementation.
What are the (operational) needs?
All too often, local organisations involved in the response do not have the resources to respond effectively to the pandemic. It is therefore important to determine what resources – in terms of number of vehicles - are required for the relief operations to be carried out effectively. Answers to this question will make it easier to determine what is available—and what is lacking and must be acquired through other channels.
What is available capacity?
This question encourages us to identify what resources are currently available to the organisation. By mapping the available resources, one can later identify what must be acquired and how additional resources can be acquired if there is a need. The resources of an organisation change from time to time and therefore they must be reviewed regularly to keep the information as up- to-date as possible.
Analysing the capacity of the transport system for moving staff and supplies—assessing in detail your organisation’s maximum transport capacity, such as the size of fleets, type and capacity, location, costs, and availability.
Assessing the availability of spare parts and repair services:
- Systematically mapping and evaluating national road transport infrastructure, taking into account the capacity and potential weaknesses of strategic routes, possible bottlenecks, availability of telecommunication resources, and risks to the infra- structure in the event of an emergency.
- Regularly monitoring major new construction or changes to existing structures that might cause bottlenecks or the temporary need for rerouting, e.g., the closure of a major routes due to road repairs, and so forth.