Helping people withstand and recover from disasters and emergencies is a huge part of what we do.
First on the scene
Within hours of the emergency – or even before it’s happened – our partners in the local Red Cross or Red Crescent National Society are often at work keeping people safe.
These volunteers and staff might help evacuate homes in the path of a cyclone, or rescue people from buildings knocked down by an earthquake.
How the British Red Cross fits in
We will either send aid directly or fund work carried out by our partner National Societies.
The support for people affected might include goods like blankets and mosquito nets, or expert help from aid workers. When airports are blocked and phone lines down, getting the right aid to the right place as quickly as possible is a huge challenge. Our logistics teams make this happen.
Help we bring
Shelter and blankets
Every year, millions of people are left homeless after disasters. Tents, tarpaulins and blankets can protect them in the aftermath. We also help people repair damaged homes.
With shops closed, roads blocked and crops and fishing boats wiped out, food supplies can quickly run out. Our support includes food parcels and mobile kitchens.
When water supplies run dry or get contaminated, people go without or drink dirty water – putting them at risk of illnesses such as cholera. Our engineers, emergency purification equipment and bottled water tackle the problem. We also bring latrines and better plumbing to cut the threat of disease from human waste.
Experts to re-unite families
Disasters can separate families. Our tracing teams put people back in touch.
If shops and traders are still open after a disaster, it can be better to give local people money to buy emergency goods rather than shipping them around the world. In the right situation, cash grants can go further than the same amount spent by us on buying aid.
We have an agreement with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to provide emotional support to British citizens affected by disasters overseas.
Building back stronger
While most disasters only hit the headlines for a few days, the damage they do can last for decades. After the news crews disappear, the Red Cross helps people rebuild their lives so they’re ready to withstand future disasters.
This might mean creating stronger housing, or giving training that helps people find new ways to make money. This work can take years, but it’s absolutely vital – preparing for disasters is always more effective than reacting after they’ve happened.