Emergency Relief

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During refugee crises, UNHCR Canada provides emergency aid and disaster relief.

Rapid Response Emergency Aid & Disaster Relief

When emergency aid is required, we send disaster relief supplies and deploy our highly trained staff anywhere in the world, at any given time. Often, our teams are managing multiple emergencies at the same time. Because of the commitment of dedicated donors, we can deploy within 48 hours of a large-scale emergency and jump-start relief and protection assistance for as many as 600,000 newly-displaced people.

UNHCR staff are trained to work under intense pressure and in incredibly challenging conditions. Together with our partners, we ensure refugees have what they need to survive—shelter, medical care, food, water and special protection and care for vulnerable children and women, including prevention and response to sexual violence.

370 trained staff
from emergency standby rosters were deployed to emergencies in 2016

Ensuring Refugee Survival Needs Are Promptly Met

With little notice and no idea if or when they’ll be able to return home, families flee with few to no belongings. They often find refuge in harsh and unforgiving conditions. Their needs are immense, but with your help, we can provide families with essential life-saving support, whether they are uprooted for weeks, months or years.

We provide refugees with shelter. This can mean setting up tented camps for tens of thousands of people, supplying materials for housing or providing cash assistance to refugees living in apartments or abandoned buildings. We also supply the basics—like blankets to keep refugees warm, sleeping mats to keep them dry and other supplies like clothing, shoes, soap, kitchen sets, heaters, solar lamps and mosquito nets.

211 million
core aid items delivered to displaced people in 2016

Providing Proper Health and Nutrition

Diseases from unclean water and poor sanitation spread like wildfire in the congested conditions where many refugees live. And when people don’t have proper nutrition, especially children, they succumb even more quickly to preventable and treatable diseases. That’s why UNHCR gives priority to the swift launch of programs that keep children, women and men healthy in refugee settings.

We work closely with our partners—supporting their vital work to supply clean water and nutritious food, to set up sanitation programs and to ensure refugees have access to emergency and basic health care services. For example, we work with partners to carry out large-scale vaccination campaigns to protect refugees from diseases like polio and measles.

of monitored refugee sites met the international standard for infant mortality

Offering a Safety Net

Crises, whether man-made or natural, cause immense suffering and uncertainty, not only because victims lose loved ones, homes and livelihoods, but because their safety net also disappears. Governments normally guarantee the security and human rights of their citizens, but they often cannot do so; and sometimes they become violators. The tragic result is that displaced civilians are extremely vulnerable to targeted violence, sexual assault, exploitation, persecution and other human rights abuses.

Protecting refugees and displaced persons is UNHCR’s core mandate. Both before and after emergencies, we work to ensure their rights are respected and that refugees are not forced to return to countries where they are in danger. We offer legal and protection assistance to minimize threats of violence, including sexual assault—a risk even in countries of asylum. We also work with our partners to keep refugees safe, while providing access to essential services and opportunities to earn an income.

humans worldwide is currently displaced from their home


Rebuilding Lives

Rebuilding Lives

Long after emergencies have left the headlines, UNHCR remains on the ground to help revive devastated communities and help displaced families  restart their lives.

Syria Crisis

Syria Crisis

Daily horrors and devastation at an unimaginable scale makes Syria the largest humanitarian emergency of our era.

Our Story Video

Our Story

UNHCR is a lifeline for people displaced by violence, conflict and persecution. We help them survive, recover and build a better future.