Medical relief charity Merlin has helped produce a guide to advise humanitarian organisations on how to deal with attacks that use weapons of mass destruction.
Extreme Emergencies argues that planning for dealing with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive disasters has until now been the preserve of the military. But the book says emergency services in developing countries may be unprepared and are likely to need assistance from NGOs.
Linda Doull, health director with Merlin, said agencies faced twin challenges in dealing with WMDs: responding to the needs of beneficiaries, and exercising a duty of care towards staff. She said one possible innovation would be the appointment of a liaison person in an NGO or academia to whom agencies could turn for assistance in the case of an attack.