In natural disasters and armed conflicts, HEKS/EPER provides needs-based emergency aid worldwide to save lives and to quickly improve the situation of civilians. It is most urgent to supply and distribute vital items like water, food, hygiene articles and provide temporary shelter, rehabilitate livelihoods, reconstruct damaged homes and public infrastructure, and prepare communities for future disasters and conflicts.
Drinking water, food, hygiene or safe shelter are crucial to survival after natural disasters or in crises caused by armed conflict. HEKS/EPER works with local and international partner organizations to furnish such emergency aid, bearing in mind the needs of those affected. If appropriate, aid can also be distributed through a voucher system, for example, by means of rechargeable bank cards. This enables people to obtain items to meet their own daily needs with flexibility and dignity.
People already at acute risk from poverty and hunger are the hardest hit by natural disasters and armed conflict. HEKS/EPER supports them in restoring their livelihood, for example by providing seeds for small farmers, nets and boats for fishermen or tools and materials for small business operators. "Cash for work" programmes allow victims to help rebuild infrastructure and the economy, thus earning regular income and boosting their spending power, which stimulates the local economy and markets.
In many countries where HEKS/EPER is active, homes and public infrastructure like schools, streets and water supply systems were not built to withstand destructive natural events such as earthquakes, flooding and hurricanes. Local authorities and communities alone are mostly unable to repair extensive damage. In providing logistical and financial support for rebuilding homes and infrastructure, HEKS/EPER therefore ensures that they can withstand the forces of nature in the future – whenever possible using traditional local construction methods. Local people are also trained in the requisite maintenance.
Disaster preparedness and resilience
To better prepare communities for future disasters, HEKS/EPER supports them as well as local and national authorities logistically and financially and by transferring knowledge during the planning and implementation of disaster preparedness measures. This may take the form of new, more resistant farming methods or effective evacuation plans. The long-term aim of HEKS/EPER humanitarian aid is to strengthen the social and economic resilience of the civilian population to withstand destructive natural events or armed conflicts.