Emergencies & Conflicts

When disaster strikes our continuous presence in many countries allows us to respond immediately to local needs.

We can prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable and ensure women and marginalised communities are not left out of decision making.

Our rights-based approach to disasters combines emergency response with programmes and policy work. This helps people, especially women, increase their resilience to disasters. Much of our humanitarian response is led by local women.We also work to address the structural reasons for poverty and vulnerability. You can learn more about approach by watching videos from our recent seminar: Where are the Women? Gender Localisation and the Grand Bargain. 


In all our work, we prioritise the needs and rights of the most vulnerable. Our approach focuses on doing things different by:

  • Ensuring community-led responses
  • Committing to long-term response
  • Promoting women’s rights and safe places
  • Putting women and children first

Over 500,000 Rohingya refugees – mostly women and children – have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar over the past few weeks. And numbers are increasing every day.

ActionAid is on the ground in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. We are providing food, clean drinking water, emergency shelter and hygiene kits. Hygiene kits include sanitary towels, soap and clean underwear. We are also building a women’s centre where mothers can breastfeed in private, receive hygiene kits, emotional support, and where needed access medical referrals.

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Since 11th August 2017, one-third of Nepal has been flooded after the heaviest monsoon floods in years.

Many areas of Nepal remain cut off and stranded without food, water and electricity. At least 149 people have died, over 1.7 million people have been affected and 460,000 people are displaced. Within 48 hours of the flooding, ActionAid Nepal staff and partners were on the ground delivering relief support.

ActionAid has long promoted the education of young people in Nepal. Because of education, child labour and child marriage have decreased dramatically. However, the floods have jeopardised this progress.

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Up to 12 million people across Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Somaliland are in urgent need of food assistance as severe drought has caused a humanitarian crisis.

ActionAid is already on the ground helping people affected by the drought.

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ActionAid is continuing its response in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful hurricane to hit the Caribbean in nearly a decade thanks to support from Irish Aid, Electric Aid and the Irish public.


AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery

Emergency facts and figures:

  • There are now 60 million refugees in the world and over half of these are children. If all the world’s refugees set up a state, it would be the 24th most populous country on the planet!
  • Conflict affects civilians. In WWI 5% of casualties were civilian, in WWII it was 50% and by the 1990s it was 90%
  • Natural disasters, such as droughts, place a greater burden on women. Women are often responsible for providing water and food for the household
  • Vulnerable groups are likely to suffer most following a disaster. This includes women, children, the elderly, ethnic minorities, marginalised communities, people with disabilities and people living with HIV/AIDs.

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