Skip to main content

World War II


UNRRA's European Regional Office Headquarters in London

With the occupation of Paris in 1940, the International Office of Public Hygiene was no longer able to function properly, while many of the health-related actions of the League of Nations were similarly curtailed. Some sort of temporary replacement needed to be established; the Allies chose the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) to address this task.

The UNRRA Council, a group very similar to what would become the General Assembly of the United Nations, met for the first time at the end of 1943 in Atlantic City, USA, and passed a resolution recommending "that Governments and recognized national authorities co-operate fully with the Administration in establishing at the earliest possible date regional and other emergency agreements and arrangements for that notification, within the limits of military security, of diseases likely to become epidemic, uniformity in quarantine regulations, and for other measures of prevention."