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Responding quickly

At Irish Aid, we ensure that we are prepared to respond quickly and effectively to humanitarian crises.

Our response in action

A significant amount of Ireland’s humanitarian assistance is directed to the Syria crisis, where the level of humanitarian need remains overwhelming. Millions of Syrians have fled to neighbouring Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan where the provision of basic services is under major pressure as Governments struggle to cope with increasing population levels. Ireland’s response to the Syria crisis prioritises the most vulnerable, and funding is provided to partners who work across the region supporting those in need inside Syria, and the populations in neighbouring countries. Ireland supports the ICRC who work to in ensure assistance reaches besieged populations within Syria. Ireland has also supported the UNICEF ‘No Lost Generation’ initiative which ensures that Syrian children who are displaced can still access education.

Ireland is also supporting international humanitarian response efforts to the dire humanitarian situation of civilians in Iraq and Yemen as a result of ongoing conflict. Syria, Iraq, and Yemen currently make up the three crises classified globally as “L3 emergencies”. This is the UN’s designation for response to the most, severe, large-scale humanitarian crises.

Ireland is providing significant amounts of humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa, where conflict, drought and displacement are driving huge humanitarian need. Famine has been declared in 2017 in South Sudan, where a bitter conflict broke out three years ago. Ireland also supports countries affected by drought related to El Niño.

Ireland further supports international humanitarian response efforts to protracted crises in the Lake Chad Basin (including parts of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger). The ongoing Boko Haram insurgency in the north east of Nigeria has led to mass displacement within and across borders and severe food insecurity, among other serious humanitarian concerns.

We have also provided humanitarian assistance to other protracted crisis situations in Africa, some of which are in danger of becoming ‘forgotten crises’, for example in Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. We responded immediately to the sudden onset humanitarian crisis caused by Hurricane Matthew which struck Haiti in October 2016.

Our Rapid Response Initiative

The Rapid Response Initiative (RRI) is a central feature of Ireland’s overseas humanitarian assistance, designed to enhance Ireland’s direct response to humanitarian crises. We seek to respond in a practical way by deploying highly-skilled personnel into crises and by sending in emergency relief supplies. The Rapid Response Corps includes members of the Defence Forces and individuals from the public and private sectors who can be deployed at short notice to provide critical skills in areas such as logistics, protection, nutrition, water and sanitation.

Ireland has stocks of emergency relief supplies at UN Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD) around the world from where they can be quickly accessed and delivered to those in need. Our relief supplies, including family tents, blankets, cooking sets, hygiene kits and water containers, help to meet the basic shelter, water, sanitation, hygiene and other immediate needs of crisis-affected people around the world, for example in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Niger, Nigeria and Iraq.

The RRI enhances our ability to help those most in need of help. It harnesses the skills, experience and resources at our disposal as a nation to respond to humanitarian emergencies.

It is inspired by the belief that donors like Ireland must be in a position to provide direct help in response to sudden-onset emergencies. We developed the RRI because we recognised that there were gaps in the current system of humanitarian assistance and we wanted to be prepared to respond quickly and effectively to any future crises.

Ireland must be in a position to provide direct help in response to sudden-onset emergencies.

Enabling our partners to respond quickly

In times of crisis, it is our NGO and international partners with a presence on the ground who know the local situation, have long years of experience, understand what is required and can act quickly.

Over the years, we have built up strong relationships with these partners and working together we are making a real difference. Through specially designed funding schemes, we are supporting our partner agencies to improve their ability to tackle crises quickly and in the most effective way.

Learning from our experiences

What we do is always guided by the central values of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, as outlined in the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) initiative. But we are continually learning from our experiences on the ground, from monitoring of our efforts and from cutting-edge research. 

Our Emergency and Recovery funding

Learn more about our Emergency and Recovery funding schemes and how they support poor people in times of crises.