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Responding to humanitarian crises

Scotland contributes 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, to date, wished to respond to some international humanitarian crises as well. In the last nine years, we have responded to crises in East Africa, Yemen, Nepal, West Africa, the Philippines, Syria, DRC, Gaza, Haiti, and Pakistan.

Humanitarian Emergency Fund (HEF)

In the 2016 to 2017 Programme for Government we committed to delivering a £1 million Humanitarian Emergency Fund (HEF) from spring 2017. Its purpose is to provide immediate and effective assistance to reduce the threat to life and wellbeing of a large number of a population caused by disasters, disease or conflict.

We have established an expert HEF Panel comprising eight representatives from leading humanitarian aid organisations in Scotland:

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

The HEF Panel has appointed a Chair and Coordinator, and we have appointed the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) secretariat to support the HEF Panel.

The HEF will be phased through the year and split equally into two funding streams, to be distributed between DEC and non-DEC members of the HEF Panel:

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

The Humanitarian Emergency Fund Annual Report 2017 to 2018 was published in July 2018.

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

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 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 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

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