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Emergencies

A UNHCR staff member helps a Ukrainian refugee move her child's stroller over rough stones.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency

Emergencies

When emergencies strike, UNHCR is ready to respond.

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In an emergency, UNHCR is there 

When people have been forced from their homes by conflict, persecution, or other humanitarian crises, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is there to save lives.

Often refugees and forcibly displaced people must flee with little more than the clothes they are wearing and the few belongings they can carry in their arms. 

Whether people seek safety within their own country or cross an international border, our expert teams stand ready to help. In a crisis, we'll be there for those in need. 

UNHCR staff member looks at the sunset. Text on image reads: "Help us stay ready. Emergency around the world"

For over 70 years, UNHCR has responded to crises all over the world. 

Today, we work in more than 130 countries to provide protection and vital assistance to refugeesasylum-seekersinternally displaced and stateless people
 

Supported by UNHCR's Policy on Emergency Preparedness and Response, we can urgently launch an emergency response to save lives anywhere in the world.

Help us stay ready

Keeping supplies stocked, staff trained and funds available are central to our ability to save lives. 

What does UNHCR do in emergencies? 

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Deliver life-saving relief items and supplies
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Deploy crisis response experts to keep people safe
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Transfer funds to ensure a rapid response 

We assist millions of people in emergency situations every year. We continually analyse the risk of emergencies globally so that we're prepared to respond quickly and effectively. When an emergency breaks: 

  • We deliver life-saving relief items and other critical goods from our global stockpiles, ready in warehouses in strategic locations around the world;
  • We deploy emergency response experts, who are trained in crisis situations and specialize in key areas like cash assistanceshelter, and tackling sexual exploitation;
  • We transfer funds from our emergency reserves directly to our local teams on the ground, so they can set up shelters, buy food and register people who need our help.

Our response does not stop at ensuring people's basic needs. From the outset of emergencies, we also work with partners, authorities and local communities to provide emergency support as well as long-term assistance such as access to education and work

The UNHCR Emergency Handbook is a UNHCR guide to agile, effective and community-based humanitarian emergency responses. 

Adult refugees carrying children in their arms. Text on the image reads "When an emergency hits"

There for people forced to flee for over 70 years 

For 71 years UNHCR has responded to crises all over the world. 
 

Today, we work in more than 130 countries to provide protection and vital assistance to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people. 

We are on the ground as emergencies unfold, and, at the same time we continue to provide support in long-term and underreported displacement situations, ensuring people who still cannot return home years, even decades, later continue to receive the support they need. 

Please consider donating to help protect people forced to flee their homes. 

Donate now 

Learn more about how UNHCR responds in an emergency

Keeping supplies stocked

Meet Silva Alkebeh, Chief of Supply Logistics for UNHCR, who oversees the provision of core relief items such as blankets, kitchen sets or sleeping mats to assist those forced to flee.

A UNHCR staff member stands in front of supplies Text on image reads ''Silva Alkebeh is Cheif of Supply Logistics Section for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency'.

Providing internet and security communication services

Find out how information technology supports emergency response and fills gaps in the delivery of humanitarian aid in challenging locations on this page.

UNHCR staff member in the Wedwil refugee settlement

Ensuring the safety of operations

Meet Giovanni Davila, Security Officer for UNHCR, who ensures that staff have access to safe transport, communication and medical support while operating in challenging environments.

Gio Davila, UNHCR Security Officer

Please consider donating today

Your gift can help protect someone forced to flee their home due to conflict or persecution.