Responding to International Emergencies

The International Emergencies and Recovery Team of the Canadian Red Cross monitors global crises and disaster trends to better prepare for and respond to emergencies worldwide. When an emergency hits, the Red Cross uses one or more of the following tools to respond:

International Disaster Relief Fund

With thanks to generous donors, the International Disaster Relief Fund allows the Canadian Red Cross to support life-saving activities within hours of an emergency and well before any money has been received from supporters. It also allows the Red Cross to respond to emergencies that may not make headline news but have devastated hundreds of thousands of people.

Pre-positioned relief supplies

In order to respond to emergency needs as quickly and efficiently as possible, the Red Cross pre-positions essential relief items in warehouses in strategic locations around the world. These supplies can be quickly dispatched in the immediate aftermath of an emergency to provide life-saving assistance.

Aid workers

The Red Cross relies on a number of specialists to manage operations and provide technical expertise in times of need. Emergency response experts include a variety of medical professionals, managers, technicians and other specialists that can be deployed individually to support an emergency response, or as part of a formed unit such as the Emergency Response Unit. Delegates are on standby to deploy to emergencies around the world based on operational needs. Learn about being a delegate for the Red Cross.

Emergency Response Units

Emergency response units (ERU) are self-contained teams of professionals and standardized equipment that were developed to improve the speed and efficiency of the Red Cross response disasters. The Canadian Red Cross has two types of health ERUs: the basic health care unit and the rapid emergency field hospital. Click here for more information on ERUs.

Advance Delegation Team

When large-scale disasters require longer-term support, such as the 2005 Indian Ocean tsunami or the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Canadian Red Cross is prepared to assist communities for the long haul. To manage long-term operations, the Canadian Red Cross will set up an office, in the affected country. The Advance Delegation Team is comprised of program specialists and support staff with the mandate to quickly set up or expand a Canadian Red Cross office to support longer-term recovery and development programs across multiple sectors.

Early Recovery

The Canadian Red Cross takes a holistic approach to recovery including assisting communities with livelihoods, health, water, sanitation, and shelter amongst other sectors. Early recovery attempts to support community coping mechanisms beyond immediate life-saving initiatives implemented during the emergency phase and aims to support the restoration of basic services and minimize longer term dependency on outside assistance.