Responding to Emergencies

What You Need to Know

Save the Children responds to three basic types of emergencies — each type determines the nature and scale of our support. They are:

  • Sudden-Onset Emergency: earthquakes, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, cyclones, industrial accidents, and war or political reprisals.
  • Slow-Onset Emergency: drought, desertification, deforestation, pest infestations, epidemics, pandemics, and war or political reprisals.
  • Complex Emergency: internal and external dislocation, famine, war and civil breakdown.

Save the Children trained nurse, Bah Aichata uses a radio in the Faraouaran Village health center. The center is linked by radio to Bougouni Hospital.

Who is at Greatest Risk?

Save the Children believes in the rights of all individuals to receive aid in an emergency, based on need. However, women and children face disproportionate risks in emergencies, such as forcible displacement and human rights violations, so emergency responses often are planned to meet their immediate needs.

In emergencies, children are particularly vulnerable to being separated from their families, recruited into armed forces, exploited sexually and made victims of gender-based violence, such as rape. Groups particularly at risk during an emergency include: disabled children, child combatants, gender-based violence survivors, adolescents, out-of-school youth, unaccompanied minors and orphans.


In keeping with our programming principles, Save the Children develops and maintains a range of different local and international partnerships with INGOs, CBOs and UN agencies to add value to our emergency work through collaborative approaches. This includes engagement in the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), the IASC as noted above, InterAction, the Emergency Capacity Building (ECB) Project, the Sphere Project, the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR) and others. Save the Children is also engaged in a wide variety of humanitarian partnerships at regional and national levels.

Save the Children's collaborative approaches with the UN in particular are guided by the Global Humanitarian Platform Principles of Partnership, which include equality, transparency, result-orientation, responsibility and complementary assistance.

Ways You Can Help

Help Save the Children respond to emergencies around the world that put at risk the survival, protection, and well-being of significant numbers of children. By contributing to our Children's Emergency Fund, you enable us to prepare and respond immediately to children and families who urgently need our help when disasters strike. Help us prepare for emergencies around the world by contributing to our Children's Emergency Fund

In addition, you can help make a difference by supporting all the work that Save the Children does to help children in need in the U.S. and around the world.


Last Updated September 2010

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