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Natural calamities and conflict situations demand swift action. And because these events create immediate demand for assistance, donors ensure there are resources readily available for emergency response and humanitarian aid.

Logistics is crucial in effectively addressing a humanitarian crisis. Proper coordination, administration, and quick action are necessary to successfully mount disaster relief operations. The logistics needed for humanitarian assistance is financed by several funds created to position funding for natural disasters or escalating violence. Devex identifies the notable humanitarian assistance funds that are allocated and utilized in partnership with multilateral and bilateral donors, nongovernmental organizations, governments, and logistics firms. 

Central Emergency Response Fund

Created and managed by the United Nations, CERF was launched to serve as a leading international financial instrument for disaster response and management. It provides initial funding for organizations such as UNICEF and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. As of 2012, CERF has a budget of $229.27 million.

Common Humanitarian Funds

Also managed by the United Nations, CHFs are country-level financial instruments that provide funding for predictable and anticipated humanitarian needs. They also involve cluster specifications since they target sector-focused needs. With a 2012 approximate funding of $142.5 million, there are CRFs for the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan.

Emergency Response Funds

Unlike CHFs, which channel funding through national governments, ERFs are instruments that coursed directly to humanitarian actors on the ground. Also, unlike CHFs, ERFs are established mainly for the unexpected. ERF are local and, therefore, enable city governments and resident NGOs to respond quickly to crises. With a budget of $62.73 million, there are ERFs for Afghanistan, Colombia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, the Palestinian Territories, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery

GFDRR, like the CERF, is a multilateral instrument that combines climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Managed by the World Bank, it has a 2012 budget of $61.57 million. Unlike the other funds, GFDRR is the only one with a mandate on disaster prevention.

About the author

  • Juan Carlos Concepcion

    Juan Carlos is a former analyst at the Devex Manila Office. A strong advocate of civic education, he also teaches undergraduate courses on Philippine politics and governance.