International Medical Corps has been selected by the UK government to join a critical network of disaster response organizations that can be called upon in times of international humanitarian crisis, such as earthquakes, floods and famine. As supplies, experts and vital relief services can often be held up by bureaucratic processes, the new network allows organizations with extensive experience in disaster response to access funding within hours, thereby reaching affected people faster and saving more lives.
The newly established Rapid Response Fund will be activated in the event of a large-scale crisis and selected organizations will be approached by the UK government within two hours to take immediate action. This endeavor will allow pre-selected and trusted organizations to be mobilized in the critical first 72 hours following a disaster.
“Clearly we need our best experts, equipment and aid on the scene as quickly as possible after a disaster, not tied up in red tape. International Medical Corps needs to be able to do their job in that vital window of 72 hours, to save as many lives as possible. Only the professionals, with relevant skills and equipment will be approved,” said Andrew Mitchell, UK International Development Secretary. “By working with a small pool of specialists, we will end the dangerous crush of aid organizations which often pour into a disaster zone. These organizations represent the very best performing disaster response agencies and this will allow them to focus on delivery.”
“It is a great honor to have qualified for this network on the basis of our long experience responding to humanitarian crises around the world, from Haiti, Pakistan, Somalia and Libya,” said Peter Medway, Director of Operations for International Medical Corps UK. “The Rapid Response Fund is going to make a huge difference in allowing us to respond quickly and efficiently when disasters strike and that means more lives will be saved.”
Since its founding in 1984, International Medical Corps has delivered more than $1.2 billion in emergency relief and health care services to tens of millions of people in 65 countries, including during the refugee crisis in Darfur, the Rwandan genocide, the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, and atrocities against children in Sierra Leone. More recently the organization has deployed emergency response teams in the critical hours after disasters including the Indian Ocean tsunami, the earthquake in Haiti, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, among others.