In Germany the response to an emergency is from the fire service, police and ambulance teams. People who urgently need assistance overseas due to natural disasters, epidemics or violent conflict receive help from relief organizations. In particular, they respond if the scale of the situation overwhelms local organizations. The priority is to save lives and alleviate people’s suffering.
Since 2001 Aktion Deutschland Hilft, the coalition of leading relief organizations has provided rapid and effective support in the aftermath of disasters. The collective expertise and strengths of all members are called upon, synergies are used and duplications as well shortfalls of relief aid are avoided so that help reaches the local people where it is needed.
In case of an emergency response appeal from Aktion Deutschland Hilft, it is vital to react at home in Germany and in the disaster region. You can read below about the steps that are taken at the coalition’s main office as well as in the disaster zone. These responses fulfil Aktion Deutschland Hilft’s mission – ‘Helping faster together’.
Full emergency response in Germany
1. Alert phase
As soon as news of a disaster reaches our main office member organizations immediately assess the severity of the situation.
2. Emergency response appeal
Several factors are involved in the evaluation of disasters. In addition to the severity of the event and the potential for the affected persons to help themselves, the government in the respective country must have issued a formal plea for humanitarian aid. International relief organizations can now become active. With no plea it becomes more challenging to send relief aid to the country.
3. Appeal for donations
In the case of serious disasters the 24 member organizations of Aktion Deutschland Hilft make a collective public appeal for donations. All members now urgently appeal for donations for the catastrophe victims to the donation account 10 20 30 at the ‘Bank für Sozialwirtschaft’.
4. Disaster relief fund
At times of major disasters every minute counts. To facilitate direct humanitarian assistance via the member organizations, Aktion Deutschland Hilft operates a disaster fund. Thanks to this fund the coalition members can take steps to organize emergency assistance in the aftermath of a humanitarian disaster – funding is no immediate concern.
5. Decision-making measures
The donations and resources from the disaster fund are distributed to member organizations, which are active in the affected country, according to a pre-defined allocation formula. This formula takes into consideration individual organizations’ capacities. The coalition’s organizations participate in teleconferences to decide on the measures for assistance, the scale of the destruction and potential geographical special circumstances at the aid destination. Member organizations then form an agreement.
6. Publicity campaign
To guarantee the most effective assistance, the coalition’s main office simultaneously coordinates a campaign to appeal for more donations. Enhanced publicity about people’s needs means more support for the victims.
7. Following up and evaluation
A crucial step to guarantee effective support is a follow-up analysis of the activities. This is the only way to ensure that those involved in delivering aid can learn from their mistakes, and for subsequent emergency responses to be carried out even more effectively. Independent external experts check for compliance with quality standards.
Full emergency response in the disaster region
1. Early humanitarian aid in the locality
The coalition members of Aktion Deutschland Hilft are engaged in long-term projects in many countries around the world where they work closely with local people. After a catastrophe local volunteers generally begin to implement the plan for delivering emergency relief aid.
2. Coordination with the coalition’s members
The local volunteers inform their respective relief organization about the necessary emergency assistance. This information is conveyed to other members of Aktion Deutschland Hilft during daily teleconferences. Such discussions help avoid any aid shortages and duplications of the relief effort.
3. Humanitarian flights and medical supplies
If the required aid cannot be sourced in the affected region, within 24 hours of the disaster the first flights are organized with emergency aid. The aircraft are loaded with relief supplies that cannot be purchased at local markets. As soon as flights start to deliver emergency aid, the first German team of disaster relief experts sets off for the disaster zone. Local doctors meanwhile give medical first aid to the victims.
4. Distribution of humanitarian supplies
The first supplies of humanitarian aid are distributed to the affected people by the local team working alongside the coalition’s organizations, including for example tents, blankets and food. In the following days the distribution of aid parcels from Germany is stepped up. The parcels contain supplies that people urgently need.
5. Medical aid and disease prevention
The main priority until the end of the first week is to improve conditions by ensuring a clean water supply and sanitary measures. Mobile paramedic teams also ensure that all those who have been affected receive continuing medical treatment.
6. Ensuring humane living conditions
One month after the disaster the member organizations focus more directly on continued improvements to living conditions: this involves building more permanent emergency shelter, temporary schools and hospitals.
7. Reconstruction & rehabilitation
Finally, assistance is provided for longer-term reconstruction, for instance, building homes that are resistant to earthquakes and storms. Micro loans help people to make a new start financially in the wake of the disaster. If necessary, rehabilitation measures are implemented and help those affected to come to terms emotionally with the terrible experiences.
After serious natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis or tornados, every second and every minute counts. Coordination and a rapid response are vital factors for saving human lives and to avoid suffering.
This is how your donation helps:
- 9 Euros are all it takes to purchase 1,000 water purification tablets and to supply one thousand people with approximately 5,000 litres of clean drinking water.
- 40 Euros ensure that a refugee family is guaranteed to receive essential supplies for one month.
- 300 Euros fund a mobile school with learning material for 80 children in a refugee camp, e.g. in Sudan.
Your donation helps people in conflict regions and provides food, clean drinking water and hope for those in desperate need. Please help us today – Make your donation!