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Our approach to crises

We respond swiftly and effectively to humanitarian crises to save and protect lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity before, during and after crises, by providing timely funding through our partners on the ground.

Global humanitarian crises

Ireland’s approach to crises is underpinned by a strong commitment to international humanitarian law and the provision of flexible and timely funding that is based on the humanitarian principles of independence, neutrality, impartiality and humanity. These principles ensure that our humanitarian assistance is targeted, focused on where need is greatest, providing life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable and hard to reach populations and communities, without discrimination.

Humanitarian crises are complex and have many contributing factors. The majority of today’s crises involve conflict, displacement and acute hunger and are more intense and longer lasting than ever before.

Disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, as well as climate-related drought and flooding, can spark off a crisis or worsen existing crises. Conflict and violence have huge humanitarian consequences, forcing people to flee their homes, destroying livelihoods and damaging vital infrastructure such as health centres and schools. All humanitarian crises are exacerbated by poverty, political instability and vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

The scale of humanitarian need globally is unprecedented. Hundreds of millions of people around the world are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and record levels of funding are required to reach the most vulnerable and marginalized.

Ireland’s humanitarian assistance – saving lives and alleviating suffering

The core objective of Ireland’s humanitarian assistance is to save and protect lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity, before, during and after crises. This approach is based upon Ireland’s Humanitarian Assistance Policy.

We allocate resources across crisis-affected countries to support programmes which are saving lives and meeting basic needs, providing protection for people fleeing from conflict, improving their access to healthcare services and clean water, providing food assistance and tackling malnutrition, and supporting vulnerable people to find livelihood opportunities in the communities and countries where they are currently hosted.

Ireland provided €194 million in humanitarian assistance globally in 2016. The majority of this was delivered through Irish Aid. Humanitarian assistance is also provided by other Government Departments, for example Ireland’s contribution to the World Food Programme by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.