We respond to emergencies as soon as it strikes. As a part of our first level of intervention, in coordination with local authorities, we focus on providing immediate support in the form of food, shelter, medical aid, hygiene and other non-food items for the survivors, such as sanitation kits for women. We also organise health camps, safe spaces for children and women, and provide psychosocial care to the survivors wherever required. Women’s participation and leadership roles in the disaster response is an extremely important part of this strategy. We strive to ensure that the ActionAid Association (AAA) team and volunteers reach the site as fast as possible to do evaluation and provide immediate relief in an emergency situation.  As a part of our first level of intervention, we focus on providing immediate support in the form of food, shelter, medical aid, hygiene and other non-food items for the survivors. We conduct assessments in a participatory manner with disaster-affected communities in order to analyse the situation they face, raise awareness of their rights and mobilise them and their institutions to take action. We put vulnerable populations — people living in poverty and exclusion, children, women, the aged, disabled, people with chronic aliments and people living with HIV, at the centre of our response. We seek to address their needs as basic rights. We strive to build capacity in the community to take an increasing role in the design, procurement and implementation of emergency response programming. Principles that guide our work during emergencies ActionAid’s human rights-based approach (HRBA) guides our response to disasters. We are guided by the following eight core human rights principles during our disaster responses:
  1. Putting the active agency of people living in poverty first – and building their awareness of rights
  2. Analysing and confronting unequal power
  3. Advancing women’s rights
  4. Building partnerships
  5. Being accountable and transparent
  6. Monitoring, evaluating and evidencing our impact
  7. Linking work across levels to address structural change
  8. Being solutions-orientated and promoting credible and sustainable alternatives
Key actions during the first phase of response Our emergency response can be seen in two phases. The first phase of our emergency response begins soon after the onset disaster and continues for about a month. The second phase is the recovery phase – where response efforts aim at rehabilitating and rebuilding lives of the affected families. The key actions that we take during the first phase are:
  • Conducting a rapid assessment
  • Commencing immediate relief activities
  • Establishing process for information flow from and to affected areas/communities
  • Establishing an emergency programme management structure
  • Establishing Oversight Group and engaging with wider networks
  • Seeking institutional/corporate funds to meet basic needs of the affected communities