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Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response


2. Non-food items: clothing, bedding and household items

Clothing, blankets and bedding materials meet the most personal human needs for shelter from the climate and for the maintenance of health, privacy and dignity. Access to basic goods and supplies is required to enable affected populations to prepare and consume food, provide thermal comfort, meet personal hygiene needs and build, maintain or repair shelters (see Hygiene promotion standard 2  and Water supply standard 1).

All affected populations – whether they are able to return to the site of their orginial homes, are hosted by other families or are accommodated in temporary communal settlements – will have individual and household non-food item needs that must be assessed and met as appropriate. Populations secondarily affected by disasters, in particular host families, may also require non-food item assistance to meet the additional burden of hosting or the impact of the disaster on the local economy and access to such items.

Although the distribution of non-food items is a common response activity, the provision of cash or vouchers to access such non-food items where local markets are still functioning should be considered (see Food security – cash voucher transfers standard 1) .

Items for individual or household use typically do not require additional information or instruction on how they are to be used. However, items to support shelter repair or construction, for example building materials, fixings and tools, will usually require additional technical guidance in the safe and effective use of such items. Similarly, items to meet personal hygiene needs should be supported by appropriate hygiene promotion activities (see Hygiene promotion standards 1–2 ).