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Mortality surveillance threshold

Key points
  • Accurate population estimates are required to measure mortality rates. This is difficult to calculate in urban and rural settings. Other methods of mortality estimates may be applied.
  • Collect and analyse data on health problems and risks in order to target the major causes of excess mortality and morbidity.
  • Prioritize health services that effectively reduce excess morbidity and mortality by means that conform to UNHCR and international standards.


UNHCR is committed to making timely and effective public health interventions, to improving emergency response capacity, and saving lives.

The goal of public health interventions, and every emergency response, is to avoid and prevent excess morbidity and mortality.

The two main public health risks that cause excess mortality are disease outbreaks and malnutrition.

Main guidance

Emergency standard

Where available, national mortality rates from country of origin and/or asylum should be used as baseline reference. Where no reliable data is available, the below standards apply.

Indicator Target
Crude mortality rate (per/10,000/day) <1
Under-five mortality rate (per/10,000/day) <2

Main contacts

UNHCR DPSM/ PHS. At: [email protected]

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