The UK aid-funded Humanitarian and Stabilisation Operations Team (HSOT) has published their fifth Annual Report. It tells the story of how the team has flexed over the past 12 months, supporting the UK Government in response to crises across the globe. HSOT provides the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) with capacity and specialist expertise to effectively respond to disasters, crises, and complex emergencies around the world.
Since 2017, HSOT has responded to 73 crises providing humanitarian and stabilisation support through a core team and 2,917 deployments. The team has worked across 123 countries and British Overseas Territories providing high-calibre humanitarian, procurement and logistics, security, and operations expertise.
HSOT Director, Rebecca Pankhurst-Lapiña, believes that the world will see more humanitarian crises caused by climate change whilst the global operating environment is changing, too. “Extreme weather events are expected to increase over the coming years and the resources available to meet these needs are not growing at the same pace as the number of people in need of assistance,” she says. “The international system is under strain, with the crisis in Ukraine rocking the norms that underpin the international order.”
Critical Humanitarian Support to Ukraine
This year, the team delivered over 11 million items of medical equipment and supplies, 398 tonnes of food aid, and 23 armoured vehicles to Ukraine, and counting. Just two days after the invasion, HSOT deployed a field team to the region made up of humanitarian advisory, information management and logistics specialists to manage the UK’s humanitarian response and provide updates on the quickly evolving situation.
“Deploying our humanitarian specialists enabled FCDO to gather information from first hand sources (including those affected and those responding), which proved crucial to shaping the UK’s response to the crisis,” explains Siobhan Parnell, HSOT Deputy Director.
Operational logistics experts were key members of the field team in Poland working continuously to get emergency supplies moved into Ukraine. At the same time, the team was also scoping out alternative transit routes for goods and emergency supplies.
“Throughout the response, the operating environment was extremely challenging,” explains Julian Neale, Head of HSOT Procurement and Logistics. “HSOT was agile and continuously tackled transport constraints and challenges. For example, any Russian attacks close to the border had immediate ramifications. This meant constant re-appraisal of supply chain plans based on the operational reality.”
Ethiopia, Philippines, and Beyond
In October of 2021, conflict intensified in Ethiopia and closed in around the capital city. HSOT provided support to the team on the ground and enabled a smooth continuation of humanitarian activities, while a group of eight experts stayed on to provide analysis, advice, and logistics support for a scaled-up response to the crisis.
When Super Typhoon Rai struck the Philippines in December of 2021, bringing with it destructive winds and torrential rainfall that caused extensive damage, HSOT provided analysis of the needs on the ground to the UK, as well as updates on the UN and Philippine Government response, providing FCDO with the technical expertise to inform their response.
Across Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Lesotho, HSOT dispatched 24 pallets of lifesaving medical supplies from its warehouse in Kemble, England, to support African countries responding to the deadly Omicron wave of COVID-19. In Tonga, HSOT partnered with the Australia Government and Palladium’s Humanitarian Logistics Capability team to deliver rapid humanitarian aid an assistance in the wake of the volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami. And of course, all of this was done while preparing for and responding to the immediate needs of Ukraine.
Five Years of Humanitarian and Stabilisation Response
Celebrating five years in action, the Annual Report highlights the breadth of expertise across the team and showcases the work of experts deployed, illustrating what an important role the team has had to play in much of the UK’s humanitarian responses globally.
“I am proud of the commitment HSOT staff and roster members demonstrate, as they work alongside FCDO to deliver results in some of the most challenging operating environments in the world,” says Pankhurst-Lapiña.
“HSOT is Palladium’s flagship humanitarian program. I am immensely proud of everything our colleagues have achieved around the world for FCDO,” notes Sinéad Magill, Palladium Managing Partner. “The achievements set out in this report – from the humanitarian response in Ukraine that engaged every HSOT capability, to the support delivered to the FCDO Ethiopia country team, to the rapid response to the Ebola outbreak in Uganda – is testimony to all their hard work and dedication.”
Palladium manages the implementation of the Humanitarian and Stabilisation Operations Team (HSOT), a program funded with UK aid from the British people. Download the report, or for more information on HSOT’s work, visit their LinkedIn or contact email@example.com.