International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Emergency Response Relief

Distributing food vouchers to displaced people in Nigeria
Photo: Peter Biro/IRC

A natural disaster or an outbreak of war or violence can turn lives upside down in an instant, killing or driving millions of people from their homes and devastating communities. When catastrophe strikes, the International Rescue Committee delivers rapid, lifesaving aid that reduces suffering, restores dignity and jump starts economic recovery.

Emergency Relief: On the Frontlines of Crisis

Emergency response is one of the IRC’s globally-recognized strengths and this capacity has put us on the frontlines of many of the worst crises in recent times—from violence-ravaged Darfur, Sudan to the typhoon-devastated Philippines.

The IRC’s Emergency Response Team

The International Rescue Committee maintains an Emergency Response Team of 17 specialists with expertise in key areas necessary to assess critical survival needs and mount an effective response to sudden or protracted emergencies.

The team includes coordinators, logisticians, doctors and water and sanitation experts. It also includes specialists who focus on human rights protection, the special needs of children in crisis, the prevention of sexual violence and aid for rape survivors.  There are also focal points for grants development, program design, security, finance, human resources and communications.

Emergency Response Team members are always on standby to deploy to a crisis within 72 hours, whether they are launching new relief efforts or lending support to IRC teams already on the ground.

Always Prepared

The most effective way to reduce the impact of a crisis on vulnerable populations is to be prepared to respond to one in advance.  The IRC is committed to emergency preparedness—giving field teams, local partners and communities the training and resources needed to address immediate needs.

The IRC pre-positions equipment and supplies in key transport hubs so that the materials can be dispatched anywhere in the world on short notice. We’ve also created a kit with a wide range of inventory necessary for the start-up of an emergency program in a remote location. 

The IRC also maintains a roster of experienced IRC employees around the world and qualified external personnel who are pre-interviewed and are available on short-notice for emergency deployment.

Read our emergency response special report