9.5.1 Flash Appeal – Sudden Onset (FSC Chapter)
  • 06 Dec 2023
  • 4 Minutes to read
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9.5.1 Flash Appeal – Sudden Onset (FSC Chapter)

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Article summary

If deemed necessary by the HC and HCT, a Flash Appeal is launched within 72 hour of a sudden onset crisis. If sustained assistance is required, the Flash Appeal can be followed by a full HRP . It includes a concise, top-line analysis of the scope and severity of the humanitarian crisis and sets out priority actions and preliminary requirements for the response. Ideally, it is based on a contingency plan and draws on baseline information gathered during the preparedness phase (see more in 5.8 on contingency planning and 6.3.1 on assessment preparedness). The process is streamlined, quick and light – the aim is to have an initial planning framework, response priorities and resource requirements in the early days of a crisis.

What is the role of the FSC Coordinator? The RC/HC leads the planning process (with OCHA support) and, with the HCT, sets the direction and priorities of the response with clusters contributing to the development of the Flash Appeal (process is described in 9.3). 

More specifically, the FSC Coordinator should consider the following:

  • Provide inputs to the needs and response analysis and, based on this, to the formulation of the overarching strategic objectives for the whole humanitarian response.
  • Determine priority food security needs, priority FSC interventions, targets and financial requirements. This includes identifying 1) nature and scale of expected response requirement, 2) the number of people affected, 3) priority needs, areas and population groups, 4) the expected duration of needs, 5) possible risks and mitigation actions, 6) initial planned food security activities and 7) the estimated overall cost of the immediate response for the FSC. See more on FSC actions in relation to assessments and needs analysis after a sudden onset crisis in 6.3.2.

This should be done through a consultative process, engaging with FSC partners, local authorities and other food security stakeholders (for example ICRC). The Coordinator should immediately inform FSC partners of the timeframe and HCT set priorities and strategies. He/she should call a meeting (online if necessary) to discuss and agree on the key areas flagged above and considering, if available, the FSC emergency preparedness and contingency plan (5.8).

Note: The key objective for the Coordinator is to ensure that the FSC PIN, objectives, activities and targets included in the Flash Appeal are prepared with, reviewed and approved by the FSC partners and CLAs (to support initial discussions, the Coordinator, with IMO support, prepares tentative figures and key narrative based on analysis of available data)Selecting the sector PIN, objectives and targets is an FSC task and should not be subject to any external pressure. 
  • Based on these discussions, draft a short FSC response plan with initial FSC priorities, including cross-cutting dimensions (based on the proactive coordination with other key clusters). The response plan should be cleared with the SAG (or with FSC partners in the absence of a SAG) as well as with the CLAs. The Coordinator should also ensure that FSC coordination costs are budgeted (see details in 8.3). In case of any external pressure to revise key sections, which has been agreed within the FSC, report this to the CLAs. 
  • Cluster Lead Agencies: Ensure that CLAs are briefed throughout the process on the cluster analysis and priority needs/ interventions, so that they are well equipped to represent the FSC in HCT meetings that decide the response direction and priorities. The CLAs should clear all key inputs shared with the ICCG and HCT.
  • Donors: Keep donor representatives informed of what is being envisaged (see 8.2.2).


  • No FSC: If an FSC has not been activated, the food security sector and relevant food security agencies will provide inputs to the Flash Appeal process using the general process outlined above. FAO and WFP as CLAs will generally take responsibility for the coordination functions (see 3.2.3).
  • Regular Updates: Update the response strategy regularly as better assessment information becomes available. A general revision takes place after one month (if considered necessary, an HRP may be developed, see 9.3). The FSC response strategy may initially address short-term activities only (reflecting the haste with which it was first developed as well as a rapidly changing situation) and should be updated (including with a stronger medium and longer-term perspective to promote early recovery activities and resilience-building).  
  • CERF: The Flash Appeal is also used as a basis for CERF and/or CBPF (see 8.4). In case a CERF request is simultaneously prepared, and if the Flash Appeal uses a project based costing methodology (e.g. 2021 Madagascar Flash Appeal), projects in the appeal should show their entire funding target for the appeal’s timeframe (i.e. not subtracting any requested from CERF). In case the project is implemented by a consortium, each organisation has to appeal separately. See more on costing methodology in 9.5.2 and on CERF in 8.4.3

Guidance: Flash Appeal Guidance and Template (note that link may change once content on HumanitarianResponse.info shifts to ReliefWeb during 2023). Coordinators should check online or with the GST for updates.

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