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Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response

Non-food items standard 2: Clothing and bedding

The disaster-affected population has sufficient clothing, blankets and bedding to ensure their personal comfort, dignity, health and well-being.

Key actions (to be read in conjunction with the guidance notes)

Key indicators (to be read in conjunction with the guidance notes)

Guidance notes

  1. Changes of clothing: All affected people should have access to sufficient changes of clothing to ensure their thermal comfort, dignity, health and well-being. This will require at least two sets of essential items, particularly underclothes, to enable laundering.
  2. Appropriateness: Clothing (including footwear as required) should be appropriate to climatic conditions and cultural practices and sized according to need. Infants and children up to 2 years of age should also have a blanket in addition to appropriate clothing. Bedding materials should reflect cultural practices and be sufficient in quantity to enable separate sleeping arrangements as required.
  3. Thermal performance: The insulating properties of clothing and bedding should be considered, as well as the effect of wet or damp climatic conditions on the thermal performance of such items. A combination of clothing and bedding items should be considered to ensure the required level of thermal comfort is met. Using insulated sleeping mats or mattresses to combat heat loss through the ground may be more effective than providing additional blankets.
  4. Durability: Clothing and bedding should be sufficiently durable to accommodate typical wear and prolonged usage.
  5. Specific needs: Those individuals most at risk should have additional clothing and bedding to meet their needs. This includes people with incontinence problems, people with chronic illness, pregnant and lactating women, older people and individuals with impaired mobility. Infants, children, those with restricted mobility and older people are more prone to heat loss and hence may require additional clothing, blankets, etc., to maintain appropriate levels of thermal comfort. Given their lack of mobility, older people and the ill or infirm will require particular attention, such as the provision of mattresses or raised beds.