accessibility & help

What is recovery?

A Red Cross volunteer teaches first aid in Bangladesh after Cyclone Sidr© InfoAs an organisation which helps people in crisis, there are three complementary ways in which we work to reduce the impact of a disaster or conflict: resiliencerelief and recovery. Our recovery work helps vulnerable people rebuild their lives after a disaster in a way which improves their ability to cope with future emergencies.

The speed, scope and cost of recovery all depend on pre-existing levels of poverty and vulnerability. We look very carefully at the local context, consider what a community will realistically be able to achieve and talk to the people who have been affected when considering how best to help.

Improving communities

The community will determine the pace of the recovery programme, what’s needed and when. We help households and communities develop sustainable ways of making a living, improve their living conditions, access drinking water and live in sanitary conditions.

Each project will use a combination of these livelihoods, shelter, and water and sanitation activities. For example, people may be taught construction skills to improve their livelihoods and then be paid to build shelters. A project focused on shelter may also improve the sanitation of an area through better drainage.

Our recovery work helps people rebuild in a way which improves their ability to cope with future disasters. For instance, in an area that is prone to cyclones, our shelter projects will build storm-proof houses. When helping people to develop their livelihoods, we ensure that a community is not reliant on one source of income alone.

Co-ordinated response

During recovery programmes, we work with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Where possible, we will work through the Red Cross or Red Crescent National Society of the country affected by the disaster. However, when the scale of a disaster is greater than a National Society’s ability to respond we may directly manage the recovery activities.

As well as helping communities recover, we build the capacity of the National Society to continue the work once a programme is over and to respond to similar situations in the future.

A Chinese woman looks out from behind bunches of sweetcorn

What are livelihoods?

A person’s livelihood is how they make money and support themselves. Our recovery programmes help people rebuild their livelihoods in the wake of a crisis.

People working on a shelter project in Bangladesh

What is shelter?

Our shelter work covers everything from distributing tents to building the foundations of a permanent home.

Hygiene promotion in Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis

What is water and sanitation?

Our recovery programmes help ensure that people have access to drinking water and are able to live in sanitary conditions.


Recovery stories

Arriving in Haiti two months after the earthquake, Mark South was prepared for the worst.

Chief executive Mike Adamson visited the Philippines to see how your support is helping communities.