Humanitarian Aid

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies provide emergency relief to people in need during natural disasters, armed conflicts, and other emergencies. They have the local knowledge, relationships, and access that enable them to be fast, and effective responders before, during, and after crises hit. They also play a key role in raising awareness on the importance of safeguarding the humanitarian principles and International Humanitarian Law. When a disaster overwhelms local capacities and the host National Society requests external support, the IFRC and Red Cross Societies in the EU often work together to provide people and resources to assist the national response. By leveraging the complementary roles and strengths of local, national, and international humanitarian actors, the Red Cross Red Crescent extends the reach and impact of its action.

The EU and Member States are amongst the world’s leading humanitarian aid donors. The EU thus plays a key role in terms of funding, but also in helping to set the global humanitarian agenda. In context of humanitarian aid, we support our members in their relations with the relevant EU institutions, especially the European Commission Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). In close dialogue on disaster management issues with Brussels-based actors, we monitor developments in EU humanitarian aid policy and advocate a principled approach.


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