Kenya + 2 more

Emergency Fund - a shortcut to aid

When disasters occur, there is a need for a rapid response to help the victims - a response that requires special expertise and flexibility of the aid organisations. To ensure the correct action in the shortest possible time, the Danish Refugee Council has established an Emergency Fund. Already within the first year, the fund has been in use three times.

When the floods swept down over Pakistan in late summer 2010, millions of people were affected and in need of relief. The pictures from the floods went worldwide and left no one in doubt of the need for assistance to victims of the disaster. By using its own means from the Emergency Fund, the Danish Refugee Council was able to provide support in the aftermath of the monsoon in Pakistan.

"The Emergency Fund has ensured a quick Danish response in several disasters, both those who have received media attention and others that have occurred in isolated areas and without attention," says Ann Mary Olsen, head of the International Department of the Danish Refugee Council.

The Emergency Fund was established by the Danish Refugee Council in April 2010 with the aim of creating a shortcut to rapid responses - without the traditional and often time-consuming processing of applications for funds from external donors. Along with the Emergency Fund, a team of experts has been formed enabling the Danish refugee Council to respond in crisis and disaster situations with both financial and human resources.

Already within its first year of existence, the Emergency Fund has been in use three times. Besides assistance to Pakistan, means have been allocated for relief to Somali refugees in the world's largest refugee camp Dadaab in Kenya, and again after ethnic riots this summer in Kyrgyzstan.

The Emergency Fund has facilitated short term interventions, but has also enabled the Danish Refugee Council in gaining foothold in areas where there was a need for more extensive assistance.

Kyrgyzstan is one of the examples of the latter. Shortly after the establishment of the fund, emergency interventions were needed for refugees and displaced people in southern Kyrgyzstan, where villages were burned and riots had forced ethnic minorities to flee. The Emergency Fund made it possible for the Danish Refugee Council to respond at short notice positioning the organisation to play a central role in cooperation with the UN in the reconstruction of about 1,700 houses.

Means for the Emergency Fund mainly come from private donations in Denmark. When emergencies occur, the Danish Refugee Council can further draw on flexible funds available from Danida and from Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.