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Concern Worldwide is a specialist in tackling hunger with the most vulnerable people in the world’s poorest places. We act fast in emergencies, saving lives and helping to rebuild livelihoods. 

Paul Odhiambo, Concern's Emergency Coordinator, at a general food distribution being carried out jointly by Concern Worldwide and World Food Programme (WFP) in South Sudan. Photo: Kieran McConville/ Concern Worldwide

In 2017, we responded to 65 emergencies in 24 countries, reaching approximately 12.9 million people, six million of whom were direct beneficiaries. Aside from emergency response, a large part of our work happens before a disaster ever strikes and involves building community resilience and reducing risks for the most vulnerable.

Many of the countries where Concern Worldwide works are highly vulnerable to emergencies and shocks as a result of conflict and natural disasters. These vulnerabilities are likely to increase in coming years as the effects of climate change worsen. Our mandate is to respond rapidly to save lives and reduce suffering, and this is what we do.

Food crises 

In the aftermath of an emergency we use practical knowledge to provide support like life-saving food to the people who need it most. During the Rohingya crisis, half a million mainly Rohingya people fled escaping violence in Myanmar. We have already provided life-saving support such as food rations, water and shelter, but with the impending monsoon season approaching, Concern is scaling up and adapting its emergency response activities to meet the needs for shelter, health, and nutrition.

Ongoing support 

We don’t just deal with the short-term needs of communities affected by disaster by providing emergency aid, but we stay there and tackle the long-term problem. We expand our livelihoods programmes to distribute livestock, seeds, tools, and more. This helps people rebuild their lives and sustains them in the long-term. 

In Haiti, for example, we’re supporting an EU-funded initiative to increase the cultivation of mangoes and avocados. These are staple foods for rural communities and they help to ease malnutrition. This also helps farmers to recover their livelihoods after the devastating effects of the 2010 earthquake, Hurricane Isaac and more recently Hurricane Sandy. 

Reducing risk

In countries susceptible to disaster, we work to prevent and limit the impact of future crises. We’re doing this by establishing early warning systems to alert people when a crisis is imminent. One way we help is by working with communities to do hazard mapping on villages and surrounding areas to identify the most flood-prone areas. This allows us to focus not only on saving lives, but also on protecting people’s livelihoods, in particular their ability to grow food. 

Our emergency team

Our emergency unit consists of 14 staff with a broad range of expertise. This team is complemented by the rapid deployment unit - a  group of staff working within the organisation who can be deployed at 24 hours’ notice to respond to sudden emergencies. In 2017, we responded to 65 emergencies in 24 countries, reaching 12.9 million people.

Disasters Emergency Committee

Concern is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee, which coordinates emergency fundraising appeals for major disasters overseas. We receive an allocation of the total amount they raise.