Our Response to Recent Emergencies

When an emergency strikes — whether due to a natural disaster, conflict, drought or disease — children are the ones who suffer most. From our very beginnings, Save the Children has made it our mission to save the lives of boys and girls in danger around the world. In times of crisis, we’re always among the first to respond, working to keep children safe and staying to help families rebuild their lives.

2017 Hurricane Maria

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico with catastrophic levels of rain and winds up to 155 miles per hour. Save the Children is supporting recovery in Puerto Rico through August 2019 at a minimum. We are providing children and their caregivers with social and emotional support and are committed to help children return to learning and enhance education and community programs. READ ON FOR MORE INFORMATION

2017 Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey was the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in over 50 years. More than 3 million children were affected by the catastrophic storm, which displaced more than 1 million people. Although the floodwaters have receded, children are still recovering from the emotional distress. Save the Children has committed a team of more than 30 staff to Texas to serve children and families most affected by the storm through 2019. SEE MORE ABOUT OUR RESPONSE

2017 Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma struck Florida on September 10, 2017, leaving thousands of families without homes, power, clean water, schools, child care and early education programs and places of work. Communities in South and Southwest Florida, home to low-income and migrant families, and the Florida Keys were hard especially hit. Save the Children continues to collaborate with early education networks to help restore child care in South Florida, where Hurricane Irma destroyed the most programs. We’ll continue to support recovery through 2019. GET MORE ABOUT HURRICANE IRMA

Jason, age two, pictured at a tented settlement in Kamalbinayak, Bhaktapur, Nepal. Save the Children provides displaced Nepalese families with essential items to help keep them healthy, safe and warm. Photo credit: Jonathan Hyams/Save the Children, April 2015.

2015 Nepal Earthquake

On April 25, 2015 a magnitude-7.9 earthquake hit Nepal affecting millions of families and injuring more than 22,000 people, including children. Whenever a disaster strikes, children are the most vulnerable – and this disaster was no different. Thousands of schools and health facilities had to be rebuilt. Following the earthquake, children were left scared and without the proper healthcare and resources to help them.

Thanks to the support of our partners and donors, Save the Children was well prepared to respond. Our teams were able to reach more than 580,000 people, including 352,000 children, with vital aid. But the work is not yet over: Thousands of families still remain without a proper home. Many children still haven’t returned to school. And young mothers are still seeking proper healthcare. LEARN MORE

Save the Children Staff member Yuko Nishiguchi, Kazuki Seto, age 8, and Yasu Hiro, age 10, play in a child-friendly space inside an evacuation center in Sendai, Japan on March 17th. Following the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, Save the Children crafted these spaces to serve as a safe place for children to play with others their own age while parents register for disaster relief assistance and asses damage to their livelihood and homes. Photo credit: Jensen Walker/Getty Images for Save the Children, March 2011.

2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

When the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami hit the northeastern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, the country was devastated, and children were the hardest hit. Save the Children has seen first-hand how children truly are the most vulnerable when a disaster strikes – we’ve seen this as their homes have been washed away, their parents, teachers and siblings lost, and their schools have been destroyed.

In addition to providing emergency supplies, healthcare and food and water, Save the Children opened child-friendly spaces to give children a sense of stability as well as an opportunity to play with other children. The spaces also provide respite for families under stress, so parents can focus on re-establishing their livelihoods knowing their children are in safe hands.


A young student practices letter writing in her preschool classroom in Port au Prince, Haiti. Save the Children worked to help Haiti rebuild its educational system and infrastructure following the destructive and deadly natural disasters. Photo Credit: Susan Warner/Save the Children 2016.

2010 Haiti Earthquake

In Haiti, an estimated 25 percent of the country was affected by Hurricane Matthew. Some 300 to 800 people were killed, and 29,000 homes, schools and other structures were damaged or destroyed. The health, education and protection needs were massive, with an estimated 750,000 people requiring urgent assistance. We were especially concerned for vulnerable children, including some 2,000 little ones separated from their families, children at risk of deadly cholera, and up to 130,000 children out of school.

We deployed emergency responders, as well as our Emergency Health Unit, staffed by doctors and health experts from around the world. We are focused on delivering food, hygiene kits and other urgently needed supplies, suppressing any cholera outbreak and protecting vulnerable children. LEARN MORE

A boy at a Save the Children child-friendly space in Swat Valley, Pakistan. Children in Pakistan’s flood-affected communities were still traumatized by the disaster six months after floods devastated the region and were suffering from anxiety, depression and phobias. Save the Children is helping children overcome their fears through art therapy. Photo Credit: Save the Children 2010.

2010 Pakistan Flood

Save the Children‘s relief workers began their efforts to help children and families on the first day of the devastating floods in Pakistan. We reached over 4 million people, including nearly 2 million children, with over $90 million worth of humanitarian aid – more than double the initial target of reaching 2 million people. We were on the ground conducting programs to provide shelter, medical aid, education, nutrition and other humanitarian relief.

Children and families have received emergency medical care, water purification supplies, household items, shelter and much more. Girls and boys were kept safe and received the support they need to help them recover from the trauma of the flood. Parents and families living in the flood zone are helping to revive their own communities with support from Save the Children's livelihood programs.

A three-year-old shares a moment of fun with Save the Children's emergency response specialist, Dudley Conneely, at a center Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Save the Children set up child-friendly places to help children recovering from Hurricane Katrina have a safe place to play and recover, while their parents work to rebuild their lives. Photo Credit: Jim Loring/Save the Children 2005.

2005 Hurricane Katrina

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, and what followed was the worst emergency response effort in U.S. history. Katrina revealed profound gaps in the disaster preparedness plans in the Gulf Coast region and nationwide, particularly with regards to children. In fact, Hurricane Katrina led to 5,000 reports of missing children. Hurricane Katrina showed the harm children and families face when kids are not accounted for in disaster planning. The sad fact remains: America is still unprepared to protect children should a disaster strike.

2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

Our staff members were on the ground in many coastal areas when the disaster struck, and their work has benefited an estimated 1 million people in over 1,000 towns and villages. Save the Children responded immediately in the countries hardest hit, including Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand, as well as in Somalia. The agency provided emergency food, water and medical supplies; set up community kitchens in temporary shelters; created safe play areas and temporary classrooms for children; distributed educational materials; provided cash-for-work opportunities and offered other immediate relief activities. It also reunited more than 1,300 children with their families. 


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