Emergency aid and humanitarian diplomacy

Millions of people worldwide urgently need food, protection, medicines and shelter. They may have survived a natural disaster such as an earthquake or floods, be trapped in a war zone or be fleeing from armed conflict.

In general, the Netherlands does not provide emergency aid directly, but donates to professional aid organisations such as the United Nations and the International Red Cross. Dutch relief organisations are also actively involved. They use the funding to carry out swift, lifesaving operations in disaster areas.

Aims of humanitarian aid

The chief aim of emergency aid is to enable people to resume their normal lives as soon as possible. Other aims include:

  • Creating safety for civilians and aid workers, for example by making agreements with warring factions to allow aid organisations to reach people in need, and prevent attacks on hospitals or civilians.
  • A greater focus on the mental trauma caused by war and crisis situations.
  • Extra protection for women and girls.
  • Training local aid workers to respond rapidly in emergencies.
  • Using IT and data technology to deploy aid faster.
  • Reforming emergency aid systems.