Emergencies & Conflict

When disaster strikes, we can respond within hours, providing vital things like food and shelter. We link our response to our ongoing projects, and we stick around as long as we’re needed, providing practical support, and making sure local people have a say in rebuilding their communities and livelihoods.

Disasters can hit anyone at any time. But people living in poverty are particularly at risk. They are likely to live on the most vulnerable land and in the most precarious housing.

Missing out on vital information – lacking a radio or phone to get warnings, or literacy skills to read safety advice – few resources and poor government protection, people living in poverty often suffer the most in a crisis.

In turn, disasters increase poverty, wiping out homes and livelihoods and causing a vicious circle of poverty, vulnerability and crisis. That's why our work with people affected by emergencies and conflict plays a key part in our fight against poverty.

Every year over 300 million people are affected by disasters. The poorest and most excluded are often hardest hit.

How we work on emergencies
  • Experience shows that disasters have a different impact on different groups.  The most vulnerable - the poorest and most excluded - tend to be hardest hit.

    Children attend psychosocial activities at Ecole Communautaire De Philippeau in
  • In 1994 up to a million people in Rwanda were killed over 100 days, approximately 20 per cent of Rwanda’s population, in the genocide against the Tutsis. Twenty years on and Rwanda has made...
  • Responding immediately once a disaster strikes can not only save lives, but also helps reduce suffering and means people can recover more quickly.

    ActionAid with the help of local partner COZPAM building a transitional sh
  • Poor rains in the previous two rainy seasons led to severe drought across large parts of the Horn of Africa in early 2011, leaving over 13 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

  • When heavy monsoon rains caused severe flooding across Asia in late 2011, many millions were displaced.

    Cambodia floods emergency response

  • One year on from fighting which displaced a million people in Cote d’Ivoire, the humanitarian crisis is far from over.

  • Saturday 12 January 2013 marks a sombre milestone; three years on from the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti, killing an estimated 220,000 people and leaving more than 1 million homeless.

  • Human rights are particularly vulnerable to abuse during conflicts – and women and girls tend to suffer the most.

  • Disasters are not 'natural'. They can often be prevented and their impact mitigated.

  • In the chaos and confusion of a disaster, the voices of those affected can get lost.  And even before disasters strike, as well as in their aftermath, people living in poverty are often excluded from the important decisions which could reduce their vulnerability and help them to recover from crises.

  • Sunday 19th August 2012 is World Humanitarian Day - a global celebration of humanitarian aid work that joins the United Nations and over 500 national and international NGOs / charities.

  • Saturday 13th October 2012 is International Disaster Reduction Day.  The day is celebrated annually to raise awareness of what we can all do to reduce our risk to disasters.  With a number...
  • Syria is one of the worst humanitarian crises of this century. Since the conflict began over three years ago, at least 100,000 people have died and 10.8 million people are in need of help. More than 3 million people have now fled Syria to neighbouring countries, and 75% are women and children.

  • The people of Gaza urgently need your help.

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