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World Humanitarian Day: Responding to emergencies on your behalf

19 August 2023

Whenever and wherever people are in crisis, there are others who help them. Behind every emergency response there is a CAFOD humanitarian aid worker, a local partner, a volunteer, those affected themselves, and a global family supporting them as they recover. 

339 million people worldwide will be in need of humanitarian aid in 2023

Thanks to your donations and your support, we can continue responding and being present before, during and after disaster strikes.  

Mass displacement in Democratic Republic of Congo caused by conflict

Conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo has led to thousands of people fleeing their homes in search of safety.

With the support of the British public, our local aid workers on the ground will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that we can reach communities in the most isolated areas with vital emergency aid

Christine Allen, CAFOD’s director

Find out how we're responding to emergencies around the world

Emergency situations see people facing the most extreme challenges. They can lose their homes, their loved ones, their livelihoods, as well as their source of food, clean water and access to healthcare.  

Large-scale emergencies can happen at any time. Disasters such as storms, earthquakes, tsunamis and cyclones can devastate huge areas within hours. All donations we receive mean we can support local experts and communities to respond to the emergency.  

During the powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria earlier this year, we worked with local organisations and volunteers who themselves have been affected, often losing all of their possessions, livelihoods and loved ones.

“Our life has changed completely. We still sleep in our cars at nights, our houses are uninhabitable, but we do our best to continue to carry on a spirit of charity.”

An aid worker in Turkey

As well as larger emergencies, we are responding throughout the year to emergency situations which never make the headlines, be it smaller-scale flooding, drought or political unrest endangering the lives of civilians which often causes mass displacement.  

Democratic Republic of Congo has seen hundreds of thousands of people fleeing their homes in search of safety due to conflict.

People have been sheltering in overcrowded makeshift camps, schools and churches, many of which are overcrowded and are not built to withstand bad weather. Families have lost their normal source of income leading to hunger and malnutrition, and the lack of clean water threatens a cholera epidemic in the camps and the overburdened communities sheltering those who have fled.  

CAFOD has been working with local experts to provide life-saving support to displaced families including food and water baskets, blankets and mats used for sleeping. Thanks to donations from our supporters, we are also able to respond to silent emergencies like this one that don’t make the news.

“Thousands of internally displaced families are fleeing the war, leaving all of their belongings behind. There is an urgent need to provide emergency shelter and clean water to alleviate the suffering of those living in temporary camps.”

Olivia, Emergency Response Team Goma

By working with local experts on the ground, we know what people need as soon as a disaster strikes. We work wherever the need is greatest, with people of all faiths and none, regardless of gender, orientation, culture, nationality, or ethnicity. 

Record monsoon rains and flash flooding across Pakistan has killed at least 1,100 people so far, affected over 30 million people and left millions homeless.  

Thanks to donations from supporters, CAFOD was able to immediately provide £100,000 of funding to the initial crisis response, enabling our partner - Community World Service Asia (CWSA) - to respond immediately providing health services in affected areas.

“Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is fortunate to have an experienced team on the ground. Many belong to the flood-affected areas and have strong links with local communities and government departments.”

Shama Mall, Deputy Regional Director at Community World Service Asia (CWSA)

Whether it is for emergency responses or for our long-term development programmes, your support is enabling change. Around the world, we are seeing increasing numbers of people in need of assistance. Some may need urgent supplies after an emergency, while others may need support or advice to become more resilient and independent.  

Colombia is a country with one of the longest-running internal armed conflict, which has led to over 6 million internally displaced people. CAFOD has been facilitating workshops with local partners in Colombia, and the communities and organisations they work, supporting them to become more resilient and better equipped in case of emergencies by developing emergency preparedness plans.

“From the workshops we are learning more, if an emergency arises in our area, how to help the people facing it, so we’re also learning how to assess the situation so that we can focus on those most affected and provide them with emergency aid.”

Claudia Patricia Palacios Barra, coordinator for regional women’s organisation Ruta Pacifica [Path for Peace]

Pakistan floods

Thirty million people have been affected by the floods in Pakistan, with millions of people left homeless.

Help us make a difference  

Regular monthly donations and single gifts are essential and ensure we can respond to the needs of the people and the earth immediately after an emergency strikes. Thank you for helping us make a difference.

 1 in 23 people around the world is caught up in a humanitarian crisis

With extreme disasters and crises happening more often and all over the world, humanitarian aid is needed more than ever. 

Current emergencies

Israeli-Palestinian Crisis Appeal

The terrible situation in Gaza is tearing lives apart. Your donation today will help with the practical support to help where possible.

Sudan Crisis Appeal

Conflict has broken out in Sudan, and hundreds of civilians have been caught up in the violence.

Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal

Donate to the Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal to support those affected and get funds to local experts who are already helping those in need.

Syria Crisis Appeal

You can provide vital emergency aid to vulnerable families both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.