Helvetas engages in humanitarian relief to help people in developing countries deal with disasters, making sure that the humanitarian response is combined with long-term development cooperation.
Poor people struggle with day-to-day survival, and can hardly invest in the future: for example, save extra food or reinforce houses. They cannot choose where to live, and often end up building their homes on exposed coastlines, slopes and arid lands. Thus, disasters tend to take the heaviest toll on the poor.
In recent years there has been a further rise in the number and scale of disasters worldwide. One of the major causes is climate change. Droughts, floods and cyclones turn the hard-won development progress of many years and even decades to dust almost overnight.
We are increasing our efforts to help our program countries deal with emergency situations. Helvetas strives to advance quickly from short-term humanitarian aid to long-term development cooperation during the relief, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction phases after a disaster. When a major earthquake struck Nepal in 2015, in addition to helping the most affected communities rehabilitate, Helvetas trained local people to build earthquake-resistant houses. The new skill helps them not only to decrease earthquake damage risks, but also get additional income.