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Ministers announce €4 million for Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative

Budget/funding, Emergencies, Aid Effectiveness, News/feature, Ireland, 2017


Minister Flanagan and Minister of State McHugh announce €4 million for Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative

Today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., and Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh T.D., announced new funding of €4 million for Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative.

Announcing the funding, Minister Flanagan said:

“The scale of humanitarian needs globally is at an unprecedented level. Ireland has stepped up its humanitarian response, providing some €195 million in funding to crises last year alone.

“In addition to funding, Ireland also provides invaluable support and assistance under the Rapid Response Initiative, a central feature of Ireland’s overseas humanitarian assistance programme whereby we preposition and stockpile essential relief items in a number UN Humanitarian Response Depots around the world. 

“Our supplies include family tents, tarpaulins and shelter kits for building shelters, basic household items including blankets, mosquito nets, cooking sets, solar lamps and hygiene kits, as well as water and sanitation items including jerry cans and water tanks.

“€2 million of the funding we are announcing today will be used to procure, through the UN system, relief supplies throughout the year, and preposition and airlift them into crises for distribution to those most in need.” 

Minister McHugh said:

“Also under Ireland’s rapid Response Initiative we deploy highly skilled members of our Rapid Response Corps at short notice to work as much needed surge capacity in frontline humanitarian response operations.  37 members were deployed into 20 crisis situations last year.  

Our rapid responders are specialists in child protection, shelter and camp management, logistics, electrical and construction engineering, nutrition, civil-military coordination, water and sanitation, and other areas.  I am proud of the work that they do, often in difficult and challenging environments.”


Press Office                                                                                                                                                             
24 March 2017


Notes to the Editor:

  • The Rapid Response Initiative was established in 2006 as a central feature of Ireland’s overseas humanitarian assistance programme.  It is an operational tool, managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through the Irish Aid programme. For further information see www.irishaid.ie.
  • The Initiative is designed to contribute to Ireland’s overarching humanitarian goal of saving and protecting lives in crisis situations by deploying highly-skilled personnel into crises and by sending in emergency relief supplies.
  • The Rapid Response Corps is a roster of skilled and experienced volunteers, or rapid responders, who make themselves available to deploy at short notice to work as much needed surge capacity in our UN partners’ humanitarian and emergency response operations. The roster currently comprises 120 individuals with specialised skills in logistics, engineering, water and sanitation, nutrition, humanitarian coordination, protection and other areas.
  • Individual members of the Corps are deployed at the request of those UN humanitarian agencies with which Ireland has concluded formal bilateral Standby Agreements under the UN’s Stand-by Partnership Programme. These UN agencies are the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). 
  • Since the establishment of the roster in September 2007 to date, Ireland has deployed 326 rapid responders to 52 countries. The majority have deployed to crises in Africa, particularly inthe Horn of Africa and in West, Central & Southern Africa, and to crises in the Middle East, while others have deployed to sudden onset crises in Haiti, the Philippines & Nepal, and to the refugee crisis in the Balkans.
  • Also as part of Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative, the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade pre-positions and stockpiles emergency relief supplies within UN Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD) around the globe.  These depots are strategically located near disaster and crisis-prone areas, ensuring transport costs are kept to a minimum and permitting the rapid dispatch of supplies in case of a crisis or emergency. The depots in which Ireland stockpiles are Accra (Ghana), Dubai (UAE), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Brindisi (southern Italy) and Panama City (Panama).
  • Stockpiling relief items allows Ireland to obtain lower prices through economies of scale, with prices agreed and purchases finalised before a crisis strikes, faster delivery of stocks into crises in the geographic vicinity of the hubs, and shared and lower transport costs from hubs into crises.
  • The quantity of relief supplies that Ireland holds collectively throughout the UNHRD network at present gives Ireland the capacity to meet the basic needs of 55,000 people in acute need. Most of our supplies are stockpiled in the Dubai and Accra depots. 
  • Over the 5 year period 2012 to 2016, Ireland has dispatched over 1,500 metric tonnesof its stockpiled and prepositioned emergency relief items into crises around the world. 357 metric tonnes were airlifted into crises last year.
  • Last year Irish Aid organised ten airlifts into crises, transporting 357 tonnes of supplies, or 170,000 relief items, were distributed by our UN and NGO partners on the ground to families affected by drought and floods in Ethiopia, families displaced by violence and conflict in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Niger, Nigeria and Iraq, and families left homeless by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.