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How Does UNHCR Respond to Humanitarian Emergencies?

Republished with permission from USA for UNHCR.

When a humanitarian emergency strikes, people are often forced to flee their homes and leave everything behind to make the dangerous journey to safety. During an emergency response, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency prioritizes saving lives and minimizing serious harm by meeting the most urgent humanitarian needs.

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Mercy Corps is Helping Ukrainians Feed, Clothe, and Earn for Themselves

By Ray Mwareya

Tetiana wakes her daughter Eva, 2, from a nap

September 2023 – Tetiana wakes her daughter Eva, 2, from a nap. They stayed in their hometown near the frontline through the difficult first year of the war, constant shelling, Russian control of their village, and a flood. Only recently they relocated to a safer location. Mercy Corps provided them with cash assistance, which they were able to use to pay for an apartment.

Mercy Corps has been providing international humanitarian aid for over 40 years, much of it in the form of emergency and disaster relief. Of their nearly 6,000 employees, 95% come from within the countries where they work, which is crucial for providing the right aid to the right populations at the right time. Their primary programs help build resiliency by connecting people across the globe to clean water, nutritious food, better economic opportunities, and more peaceful tomorrows—all critical to unlocking the power of human potential and strengthening communities to better cope during crises, adapt to evolving challenges, and thrive into the future.

For this Organization Spotlight, we were fortunate to have caught up with one of their program leaders working in Ukraine – not a natural disaster, yet a humanitarian disaster caused by human conflict where many of the same emergency response principles still apply.

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Empowering Resilience: Cabdinasir Adan

By Amber Cortes

View of workers filling water jugs

Emergency water supplied by GREDO Somalia. Photo: GREDO

‘Iskaashato ma kufto,’ goes a Somalian proverb: “If people support each other they do not fall.” It’s a sentiment that Cabdinasir Adan, the Food Security and Livelihoods Manager at Gargaar Relief and Development Organization (GREDO), can get behind.

According to Cabdinasir, Somalia faces urgent situations once or twice every year due to frequent droughts, armed conflict and flooding. These natural disasters, compounded by climate change and environmental degradation, continue to strain the capacity of humanitarian aid and underscore the urgent need for resilience-building efforts in Somalia.

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