Take Action: International Disaster Response

Disaster relief package and globe

International humanitarian disaster response occurs when foreign governments, agencies, and organizations assist a society whose government and civil institutions cannot adequately address the needs of its disaster-affected populations. Assistance includes immediate and longer-term efforts designed to save lives, alleviate suffering, maintain human dignity, and help people prevent, mitigate, prepare for, and respond to future crises. As developed nations generally have the financial, technical, and human capital resources needed to conduct their own relief and recovery activities, requests for external assistance come largely from developing countries.

Learn more

Source: Root Cause

Disaster relief and recovery efforts is one of the most popular issues individual donors donate to. The number of natural disasters has increased exponentially with growing populations in disaster prone areas (i.e., coastal areas). In total, nearly one third of the world’s population has been affected, and millions have lost their lives. These tragic events (natural and man-made) destroy infrastructure, cause population displacement, and fundamentally undermine the fabric of sustainable development and human security (source: United Nations Environment Programme).

Learn more

Source: Philanthropedia

 

While systematic methods for measuring the impact of disaster response efforts are limited, and means of attributing impact to individual actors or programs non-existent, coordinated multi-actor humanitarian interventions —and the participating organizations—most capable of creating positive social impact demonstrate four core components:

  • Aid appropriateness: abiding by the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence; respecting international humanitarian, refugee, and human rights laws; and using assessment tools to identify, prioritize, and address affected populations' needs and defending marginalized peoples' rights to relief and recovery assistance
  • Contribution to impact: addressing disaster-affected populations' immediate or long-term needs, addressing underlying sources of risk and vulnerability to disasters, and enabling rebuilding of economic and social lives
  • Relevant skills and experiences: adhering to the highest practice standards, facilitating cooperation among actors in the field, working with a variety of actors, and developing procedures and practices to protect disaster survivors and aid workers from violence during humanitarian operations
  • Connectedness: establishing relationships with organizations in regions served; engaging local actors, resources, markets, and institutions; and employing community-based approaches to aid. Connectedness also refers to actors that participate in working groups or research efforts contributing to improvements in industry capacity, accountability or quality.

Learn more

Source: Root Cause

Experts were asked to recommend nonprofits that work in both natural and man-made disasters (war displacement disasters), slow and fast onset of disasters. Nonprofits being recommended can be working in one or more of the following areas: health, food, shelter, water, sanitation, security, medicine, non-food items (pots, pans, water containers, etc.), technical assistance, and other areas.

Learn more

Source: Philanthropedia

International disaster response is a complex issue that requires the expertise of numerous specialized actors (governments, international and local non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies, sometimes militaries, and always the affected civilians). Interventions involve several phases and can span multiple years. Those which create positive and sustainable improvements in people's lives could be credited with

  • Promoting local understanding of hazards and vulnerabilities to disaster, enabling knowledge-based actions to be taken to mitigate and prepare for the effects of future hazards and mobilize effective domestic disaster relief and recovery efforts
  • Strengthening domestic policy, technical, and institutional capabilities in disaster management
  • Enabling societies to more quickly restore their economic and social lives after crises Helping once-vulnerable societies reduce their damages and losses from future hazardous events
  • Fostering the development of a culture of safety and resilience in which people are educated about hazards and disaster risk reduction, establishing protective infrastructure and regulations, and engaging in sustainable management of natural resources and land use

Learn more

Source: Root Cause

Philanthropedia surveyed 54 experts who worked in the international emergency response field (with an average of 17 years of work experience in the field). They were asked to recommend high-impact nonprofits working in emergency response internationally. Philanthropedia’s experts (funders, researchers, nonprofit senior staff, consultants, etc.) identified 11 top nonprofits (out of 52 total reviewed nonprofits) making an impact at the international level.

Learn more

Source: Philanthropedia