One of the main objectives of our emergency programming is to respond rapidly to emergencies in order to save lives and reduce suffering. While the details from one emergency to the next may change, the core principles remain the same:
- Assess the needs of impacted community, while ensuring the safety of our local staff.
- Plan a response to meet the needs of those affected, coordinating with partners including the UN, international governments, and other NGOs.
- Deliver timely, coordinated assistance to crisis-affected communities impartially regardless of nationality, race, gender, religion, political opinion, or class.
- Track funds dedicated to the emergency response to ensure that they are meeting the needs those affected.
- Work alongside the community during the immediate aftermath of an emergency, staying until the community fully recovers and has built resilience against future crises.
- Train fellow humanitarians to strengthen future emergency response through our capacity building programs like Building a Better Response (BBR).
For example, by March 2017, drought and conflict had left nearly 23 million people in South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. We expanded our emergency response in these countries to directly assist 1.5 million people in the most vulnerable communities. Learn more about how this response contributed to Somalia avoiding a famine in 2017.
Disaster Risk Reduction
Disaster risk reduction is central to our work in building community resilience when emergencies hit. After the immediate priorities are addressed, we work with communities to systematically identify, analyze, and reduce the risks of future emergencies or disasters. Our teams work to reduce the impact of natural disasters, as well as the human and environmental factors that trigger them.
Risk is a fundamental element that can force people into poverty and keep the cycle hard to break. All of the communities that we work with are subject to differing degrees of disaster risk, so therefore all of our programs incorporate disaster risk reduction.
Part of our humanitarian work aims to help communities withstand emergencies and to help them become less vulnerable to future problems. This is particularly important as most regions we work in experience frequent natural disasters or ongoing political instability.
We position ourselves in some of the most vulnerable places in the world so that we are there before disaster strikes. We are able to detect when a situation is deteriorating and respond with tailored interventions. We help to equip families with the skills and tools to feed and support themselves sustainably without resorting to negative coping strategies, such as selling essential assets, migrating for work, or child labor.