Emergency relief and recovery

Table of contents

Earthquakes, epidemics, flooding, violence or hunger – whenever disaster strikes, the Red Cross provides emergency assistance. It provides people in need with essential supplies. During the recovery stage, it makes sure that people are better prepared for future disasters.


Disasters are getting worse and more complex

Every year, around 100 million people are directly affected by natural disasters, causing enormous suffering. People lose their homes, harvests, livelihoods and even their families. More than 95% of these disasters are related to weather and climate. And climate change is causing natural disasters to get worse. Droughts, floods, storms and forest fires are becoming more and more common.  The consequences are devastating. People do not have time to recover, and neither does the environment. Harvests are less productive. Conflicts over resources, such as water and fertile land, are increasing. Violence and displacement are causing further hardship.
In many places, disasters are made even worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, making recovery more complicated and the damage even greater.

Disasters leave scars

Natural disasters destroy human lives and livelihoods. Besides all the damage to houses, fields and facilities, disasters also leave social and economic scars behind them. The victims lose their livelihoods and sometimes even their families. Many people are traumatized by the life-changing events and the economic repercussions. It often takes them years to recover.

Our goal

Our goal is to save human lives and prevent unnecessary suffering. To achieve this, we increase people’s resilience. We support them before, during and after a disaster.
Hand in hand with the local population, we devise measures to help them cope better with future disasters and ensure that less damage is caused. This approach is sustainable because it combines emergency relief, recovery and disaster preparedness.

What we do

Insights into our projects

Fast, effective action

Saving lives when disaster strikes requires fast, effective action. Cash handouts and essential relief supplies must be available and emergency response teams and logistics specialists must be ready to respond.
As a member of the worldwide Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the SRC is ready to act. Its emergency response teams comprise logistics specialists and medical personnel who are ready to travel to disaster zones at short notice.

International network

Local Red Cross workers and volunteers are the first on-site. They rescue victims, assist relatives, distribute food and drinking water, and provide first aid. But if they are to help, they need financial resources and coordination behind the scenes. This is provided by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)Opens in a new window, which coordinates all emergency relief operations.

Cash handouts

Cash-based relief is becoming more common. Disaster victims receive cash handouts, vouchers or rechargeable debit cards, so they can decide for themselves what they most urgently need.

Local procurement

Wherever possible, the SRC’s emergency relief specialists purchase materials from local suppliers. This gives the local economy a helping hand.


The SRC helps people get back to a dignified and independent everyday life. It builds back stronger communities and infrastructure, and homes that are safer and more durable.
Recovery is not just about replacing damaged infrastructure. People who have been robbed of almost everything by a disaster must be able to recover socially and economically.

Emergency response operations

The SRC has a pool of experts who can be deployed within 48 hours to disaster zones abroad. These logistics and healthcare specialists are released by their employers for the duration of the mission.

To cope with these demanding operations, they undergo a foundation training course and keep up to date with annual refresher courses.

Our achievements over the past year


Covid-19 measures

The SRC provided support for more than 22.1 million people worldwide after the coronavirus outbreak. It also ran prevention campaigns and helped to cushion the economic impact.


Emergency shelters and apartments

Last year, the SRS helped this many people to rebuild or repair their homes in the wake of a natural disaster.


Disaster relief

In 2021, the SRC helped this many people in other countries with crisis and disaster relief measures.

Where we help

The SRC is currently providing emergency relief and reconstruction assistance in 17 countries around the world in partnership with other members of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Our project countries

Your support is important

A woman from the Emergency Response unit walks towards a tent with a medical team and a patient.

Help us respond to emergencies

Your donation can help us provide emergency aid after a disaster and support projects for vulnerable people.

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