© Helvetas / Zahid Hasan

Our Expertise and Services: Humanitarian Response

© Helvetas / Zahid Hasan

We provide emergency aid and support rebuilding efforts after natural and man-made disasters in our partner countries. Helvetas combines these activities with long-term development prospects from the outset. 

Why humanitarian response matters

Roughly 95 percent of victims of natural disasters live in developing countries and well over half of them are women. Multiple and recurrent disasters tend to affect particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged groups of society. In recent years, there has been a rise in the number and scale of disasters worldwide. These trends underline the tremendous impact of disasters which threaten to reverse decades of development efforts and are expected to increase in frequency and intensity with the effects of climate change.

What we do

Helvetas is committed to providing disaster relief, support rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the event of an emergency. We respond to emergencies in places where we can add value, e.g. by building on long-term development programs, our thematic expertise and existing local partnerships, and in collaboration with specialized humanitarian partner organizations. As a development organization, Helvetas creates an added value for the provision of humanitarian aid with its good understanding of local social, institutional and environmental contexts and its networks.

Helvetas adheres to the commonly agreed conceptual thinking that development efforts should prepare people and countries to better withstand disasters and emergencies. This concept, known as “linking relief, rehabilitation and development”, links short-term relief measures with longer-term development programmes in order to create synergies and provide a more sustainable response to crisis situations. This leads to a reduction of the need for humanitarian aid and promotes developmental objectives before, during and after emergencies.

© Helvetas / Zahid Hasan
Expulsion of Rohingya © Helvetas / Zahid Hasan
© Helvetas / Andrea Barrueto
Earth quake, Nepal © Helvetas / Andrea Barrueto
© Helvetas
Flood disaster, Pakistan © Helvetas

What we offer

  • Expertise at the nexus of humanitarian aid and development.
  • Planning and implementation of emergency interventions including formulation, monitoring and evaluation, coordination of interventions and partners within the humanitarian cluster system, reporting.
  • Capacity development and backstopping on humanitarian response: conducting trainings on emergency preparedness and response, organizational development, coaching of Helvetas staff and partners, thematic support on all our working topics.
  • Communication and awareness raising on disaster risks and humanitarian response.
  • Knowledge management: analysis and documentation of humanitarian interventions and lessons learned, evidence-based learning, bridging field activities with international policy dialogue.

Contact our team

Our multilingual advisory team offers wide-ranging thematic expertise and process competences. Helvetas advisors have long-standing working experience in the humanitarian sector and at the interface between humanitarian aid and development cooperation. 

Contact our humanitarian response experts

Selected projects

Helvetas develops and guides projects. To be sustainable, they must be locally embedded. We support our partners in effectively organizing projects and processes and assist local authorities to better assume their responsibilities.

© Helvetas
Madagascar Environment and Climate Change

Boosting Income to Boost Rainforest Conservation

© Helvetas
Haiti Environment and Climate Change

Better Prepared for Storms

© Helvetas
Ethiopia Environment and Climate Change

Herders Prepare for Climate Change Impacts

© Helvetas / Simon B. Opladen
Bangladesh Environment and Climate Change

Clean Drinking Water from the Skies Above

© Helvetas
Bhutan Environment and Climate Change

Protecting and Sustainably Using Forests

© Helvetas / Patrick Rohr
Nepal Environment and Climate Change

Fresh Start after the Earthquake

© Helvetas
Mali Environment and Climate Change

New Strategies to Adapt to Climate Change

© Helvetas
North Macedonia, Eastern Europe Environment and Climate Change

Getting Biodiversity on the Agenda

© Helvetas
Nepal Environment and Climate Change

Rehabilitating Facilities Destroyed in the Earthquake

Switzerland Environment and Climate Change

For Climate and Disaster Resilience - Swiss NGO DRR Platform

Bangladesh Governance, Peace & Migration

Local Government Initiatives on Climate Change

Rasht Valley Tajikistan | © Helvetas
Tajikistan Gender and Social Equity

Improved Nutrition and Health for Rural Families

Kyrgyzstan Sustainable and Inclusive Economies

Sustainable Tourism Strengthens People and Nature

© Helvetas
Vietnam Governance, Peace & Migration

Strengthening Land Rights of Ethnic Minorities

 Mother with daughter preparing food | © Patrick Rohr
Laos Environment and Climate Change

Connecting for Improved Nutrition

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Further information

Partnerships, alliances and networks

Other topics that might interest you


The most vulnerable communities suffer from dirty and scarce water. Annually we help up to 500,000 people get new access to drinking water and basic sanitation.

Environment and Climate Change

Every year, we support over 1,000,000 people adapt to climate change, reduce the risks of disasters, sustainably manage natural resources, and conserve nature.

Rural Access

Lack of transport infrastructure makes it impossible for the poor to escape the poverty trap. We help people get better access to markets, schools, and hospitals.