Responding to humanitarian crises

In the 2016-17 Programme for Government we committed to delivering a £1 million Humanitarian Emergency Fund (HEF). Its purpose is to provide effective assistance to reduce the threat to life and wellbeing of a large number of a population face with a humanitarian Emergency.

The HEF is supported by an expert Panel comprising eight representatives from leading humanitarian aid organisations in Scotland. The HEF Panel has appointed a Chair and Coordinator, and we have appointed the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) secretariat to support the HEF Panel.

Funding from the HEF is phased through the year and split equally into two funding streams, to be distributed between two different types of emergencies:

  • emergencies which lead to a public DEC Appeal
  • emergencies that do not lead to a public DEC Appeal

Read the Humanitarian Emergency Fund annual reports to find out about which crises have been support by the fund so far:

In June 2019 we undertook an Independent Review of the HEF to consider the period from the HEF’s establishment in spring 2017 to summer 2019. This review set out to explore the success of the fund so far and make recommendations on how the fund could improve. The review was based on a range of interviews with key stakeholders and sector experts, as well as desk review of HEF documentation and publications from leading agencies, thought leaders and think-tanks working on humanitarian assistance. This review will be used to support the work of the HEF panel from 2020 onwards.

Read the 2019 Independent Review of the HEF

The HEF Panel operate on three years cycles (2017- 2020), and is currently  made up of eight international NGOs, who all bring a wealth of experience and expertise to our humanitarian responses:

  • Mercy Corps
  • Oxfam
  • British Red Cross
  • Mission Aviation Fellowship
  • Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF)
  • Christian Aid
  • Tearfund
  • Save the Children

Due to the COVID 19 outbreak, we have made the decision to extend the current HEF panel for 6 months. This is so we can best support our humanitarian work at this difficult time.

What humanitarian emergencies have been funded so far?

2019-2020

In October 2019 we announced £100,000 was available from the HEF to support vulnerable families fleeing conflict in north-west Syria. The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) will aid Islamic Relief in Syria who are working to support over 6,000 people who have been displaced by fighting. This is part of a wider programme to aid 42,000 displaced persons.  With this money, vulnerable families, including those with pregnant women or those headed by children or the elderly, will be given vouchers to pay for a choice of non-food items in shops, such as essential items such as blankets and mattresses which will in turn support the local economy.

Read the news story: Humanitarian Aid for Syria

Read response report and case studies

In July 2019 we released £200,000 from the HEF to support the Ebola crisis in the Demographic Republic of Congo (DRC). The British Red Cross and Christian Aid both received £100,000 each aid efforts in containing the disease and prevent a potentially catastrophic spread of the virus. Due to the risks facing front line responders during the activation period, we did not make a public announcement of our funding support. As the situation has now stabilised we are acknowledge our support and provide an end of response report on the success of the intervention.

Read response report and case studies

In March 2019 we announced £150,000 would be made available for Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe following Cyclone Idai. The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) launched a fundraising appeal following the cyclone that has left a trail of destruction in the south east African countries. More than 400,000 people have lost their homes and vital infrastructure has been destroyed by major flooding. At least 480 people have lost their lives. A further £50,000 was allocated to support emergency flood relief in Malawi, in addition to £175,000 which will be delivered through University of Strathclyde’s HydroNation programme.

Read the news story: Disasters Emergency Committee appeal

Read the DEC’s six monthly response report

See the data from the flood relief work from Cyclone Idai in Malawi

2018-2019

In January 2019 we announced £220,000 would be made available from the HEF to support refugees in Colombia, displaced from Venezuela. The money is being channelled through two aid agencies, Tearfund and SCIAF, to provide vital food, shelter and health supplies to refugee settlements. 

Read the news story: Support for Venezuelan migrants in Colombia 

Read response report and case studies

In November 2018 we announced £300,000 would be made available from the HEF to support communities displaced by conflict in Mali. Two projects by Mercy Corps and Tearfund were awarded £100,000 each. These projects will help meet essential food and sanitation needs of over 700 households in communities impacted by the crisis.

Read the news story: Funding allocated to Mali crisis

Read response report and case studies

In October 2018 we announced £240,000 from the HEF would be released to support those affected by the Indonesia tsunami. The funding was split between the DEC Appeal and non-DEC members of the HEF Panel (Mercy Corps, SCIAF and MAF) to provide food, clean water, first aid and shelter.

Read the news story: Support for Indonesia

Read the report on the response by non-DEC members of the HEF Panel 

Read the DEC’s East Africa Crisis Appeal Six-Month Report

In July 2018 we announced £300,000 would be made available from the HEF, to provide emergency aid for people affected by conflict in Syria, Yemen and South Sudan. The funding was distributed equally between British Red Cross (Syria), Mercy Corps (Yemen) and Tearfund (South Sudan) to provide urgent food, water, shelter, sanitation and health support.

Read the news story: Humanitarian Emergency Fund

Read the blog: Humanitarian aid

Read response report and case studies

2017-2018

In February 2018 we announced £293,000 would be made available from the HEF, to provide immediate aid for people affected by the escalating crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The funding was allocated to SCIAF (£97,922), Tearfund (£97,920) and Christian Aid (£97,920) to provide food, shelter and access to safe water for thousands of people across DRC.

Read the news story: Funding for DRC

Read the response report

Read the case studies

In September 2017 the First Minister pledged £120,000 from the HEF for the response to the hundreds of thousands of civilians, the majority Muslim Rohingya, forced to flee Burma towards Bangladesh. The funding will be divided between Christian Aid and Oxfam to work with local partners in Bangladesh to provide help to refugees who urgently require food, sanitation and health support.

Read the news story: Burma refugee aid

Read the blog: Burma refugee aid

Read the response report 

In September 2017 we announced £300,000 from the HEF, would be distributed to help support people left homeless following floods that ravaged South Asia. The funding, was split between three projects administered by Save the Children in India; Oxfam in Bangladesh and Tearfund in Nepal.

Read the news story: Aid allocated following flood crisis

Read the blog: South Asia flood Aid

Read the response report 

Read response case studies 

In July 2017 we announced the first funding released from the HEF, which was allocated to the East Africa crisis. The funding, split between the DEC Appeal and non-DEC members of the HEF Panel, will support vulnerable families in East Africa suffering from the effects of the famine and food crisis.

Read the news story: Humanitarian Emergency Fund

Read the report on the response by non-DEC members of the HEF Panel 

Read the DEC’s East Africa Crisis Appeal Six-Month Report

History

Scotland has always contributed to helping people affected by international humanitarian crises through the work of the Department for International Development (DFID), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and individuals.

However, in recognition of Scotland's role as a good global citizen, Scottish Ministers have wished to respond to some international humanitarian crises as well. Since 2005 we have responded to a range crises in East Africa, Yemen, Nepal, West Africa, the Philippines, Syria, DRC, Gaza, Haiti, and Pakistan. In 2017 this was formalised by the establishment of the Humanitarian Emergency Fund.