Every year, conflicts and natural disasters leave millions of people unable to meet even their most basic needs.
The Global Impact of Disasters
The frequency of disasters is increasing at an alarming rate. Since 2000, almost one million people have been killed by disasters, and more than one trillion dollars have been lost, according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Concern targets the least developed countries, many of which are highly vulnerable to natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, tropical storms, earthquakes and landslides. Some of them are also experiencing, or just emerging from, disastrous periods of armed conflict or political violence.
Disasters are particularly devastating when they strike in developing countries, which often lack the economic means to respond effectively to emergencies. In some countries, overpopulation and rapid urbanization is causing environmental degradation and placing a strain on natural resources, exacerbating the impact of disasters and increasing the threat of armed conflict.
When disasters strike it is the poorest communities that are the most vulnerable. A single catastrophic event can set back their development by decades. Urban slum communities-like those in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince-often live in substandard housing, which is prone to collapse during earthquakes and hurricanes. In countries like Niger, where impoverished rural families suffer "hungry months" between harvests every year, a drought can rapidly escalate into a food crisis threatening millions.
IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis | Relief Web | United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) | United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) | UN Millennium Development Goals
How Concern is Meeting the Challenge
Concern is committed to meeting the humanitarian imperative to save lives and alleviate suffering. We recognize the need to respond quickly, effectively and creatively to sustain the lives and dignity of people affected by natural calamity or armed conflict. In countries susceptible to disaster, Concern believes that disaster risk reduction is an integral part of development.
We are also committed to helping communities establish early warning mechanisms to prevent and minimize the impact of future crises. Such measures allow us to focus not only on saving lives, but also on protecting people's means of earning a living.
In recent years, Concern has further developed its emergency response capacity by strengthening its Rapid Deployment Unit and Emergency Response Team-a dedicated team of over 50 emergency professionals who are ready to respond to any disaster within 24 hours.
Last year, Concern responded to 37 emergencies in 19 countries, reaching 3.9 million people affected by conflict, drought, floods, earthquakes, and crop devastation.
- The Horn of Africa . Concern is working to reach more than 797,000 with food, water and vital interventions to prevent and treat malnutrition
- Pakistan . Concern reached nearly two million disaster-affected people with food, shelter, clean water, sanitation, health care, and other immediate needs. The organization also helped more than 156,800 people rebuild their assets by providing farming materials and livestock, skills training and small business grants. Additionally, it continued supporting the communities affected by the 2010 floods.
- Haiti . Concern reached more than 460,000 people affected by the earthquake, managing 13 camps for people whose homes were destroyed, distributing essential relief items, organizing daily truck deliveries of clean water, treating malnourished children, providing cash-for-work opportunities, and ensuring that children have access to safe places where they can learn.
Standards and Codes
In our emergency work, we have chosen to adhere to the following international humanitarian codes of practice:
In addition, our humanitarian aid interventions-particularly in conflict situations-are informed by three main bodies of international law: human rights law, refugee law, and international humanitarian law as laid down in the Geneva Conventions and their protocols.
How you can help
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