MSF logistician and daily workers unload a truck with humanitarian supplies in Guiuan.
MSF logistician and daily workers unload a truck with humanitarian supplies in Guiuan.
PHILIPPINES 2013 © Francois Dumont/MSF
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Emergency response

Pre-packaged disaster kits

MSF has developed and produced pre-packaged disaster kits ready for transport within hours, including a complete surgical theatre the size of a small conference table and an obstetrics kit the size of a two-drawer file.

These kits are now used as models by emergency relief organizations worldwide. There is an ongoing process of revising the kits every time a new drug or medical tool becomes available.

Supply centers across the globe

To make sure we are responding to emergency situations as quickly as possible, we have four logistical centers based in Europe and East Africa plus stores of emergency materials in Central America and East Asia.

The logistical centers purchase, test, and store equipment—including vehicles, communications material, power supplies, water-processing facilities and nutritional supplements. Planes can be loaded and flown into crisis areas within 24 hours.

In the logistical centers, the pre-packaged disaster kits are already custom-cleared and ready for flight. In China and Dubai, we also store thousands of tents, shelter kits, and other nonperishable items, ready for immediate use in the event of a disaster.

Discover more about the modes of transport that MSF uses across the world.

Cost-reducing logistics

If we are responding to an emergency that isn’t dire, MSF ships the majority of material and drugs by sea in order to save money.

Because of this, it is vital to monitor stock levels and anticipate future needs so that orders can be placed up to three months in advance of expected needs.

We also need to get all drugs and equipment cleared by local customs.

In the capital cities of countries where we work, we have logistics staff who negotiate with the appropriate officials, ensuring that the import taxes are correct and that the material is delivered to where it is needed as quickly as possible.