expertise to be the collaborator of first resort at the time of disaster. To perform this function, however, it needs adequate resources to permit it to organize itself bilaterally with other country governments and with the United Nations and humanitarian NGOs to develop capacity to estimate populations at risk.


Based on the preceding discussion, the committee makes the following recommendations:

  • National and international disaster response and humanitarian agencies and organizations should elevate the importance of demographic and specifically spatial demographic training for staff members. Further, census staff and others working in NSOs throughout the world should be encouraged to undertake such training in order to promote the analysis and use of subnational data before, during, and after emergency response situations. [Report Recommendation 3]

  • Relief agencies should broaden their collaborative relationships with NSOs to ensure the acquisition of real- and near-real-time data that complement and are compatible with existing data used for disaster response. [Report Recommendation 7]

  • The U.S. Census Bureau should be given greater responsibility for understanding populations at risk and should be funded to do so. These responsibilities could include greater capacity and authority for training international demographic professionals in the tools and methods described in this report, and providing data and analytical capabilities to support the U.S. government in international disaster response and humanitarian assistance activities. The U.S. Census Bureau should also have an active research program in using and developing these tools and methods, including remotely sensed imagery and field surveys. Existing research support models that involve government-academic-private consortia could be explored to develop a framework for the U.S. Census Bureau to adopt these added responsibilities. [Report Recommendation 10]


Currion, P., 2006. A little learning is a dangerous thing: Five years of information management for humanitarian operations. Humanitarian Exchange 33(March):37-39.

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