In a moment, the outbreak of war or the threat of violence and persecution can turn lives upside down – driving millions from their homes, tearing apart families and destroying communities.
When catastrophe hits, the International Rescue Committee is often one of the first humanitarian aid organisations on the scene – providing rapid and effective aid that saves lives, reduces suffering, restores dignity and jumpstarts recovery.
Emergency response is one of the IRC’s globally-recognised strengths and this capacity has put us on the frontline in many of the worst crises in recent times – from violence-ravaged Darfur to flood-devastated Pakistan.
The IRC’s emergency response team
The IRC maintains an Emergency Response Team of specialists with expertise in key areas necessary to assess critical survival needs and mount an effective response to sudden or protracted emergencies.
The team includes coordinators, logisticians, doctors and water and sanitation experts. It also includes specialists who focus on the protection of human rights, the special needs of children in crisis, and the prevention of sexual violence and aid for rape survivors. There are also focal points for programme design, security, finance, human resources and communications.
Emergency Response Team members are always on standby to deploy to a crisis within 72 hours, whether they are launching new relief efforts or lending support to IRC teams already on the ground.
The most effective way to reduce the impact of a crisis on vulnerable populations is to be prepared to respond to one in advance. The IRC is committed to emergency preparedness – giving field teams, local partners and communities the training and resources needed to address immediate needs.
The IRC pre-positions equipment and supplies in key transport hubs so that the materials can be dispatched anywhere in the world on short notice. We have also created a kit with a wide range of inventory necessary for the start-up of an emergency programme in a remote location.
The IRC also maintains a roster of experienced IRC employees and qualified external personnel around the world who are pre-interviewed and are available on short-notice for emergency deployment.
Visit crisis watch to find out more.
The crisis within a crisis – protecting women and girls in humanitarian emergencies
On October 16th 2012 IRC-UK held a high level policy roundtable at Ditchley Park which focused on responding to and preventing violence against women and girls in the immediate aftermath of a humanitarian emergency. Read more about the conference and access reading materials here.