Diomo, DRC, is severely malnourished and has tuberculosis.

Emergency Fund

A decade of emergency response

It's been 10 years since we launched our Emergency Fund. Thanks to your support, we've reached millions of children in their darkest hour.

When a disaster strikes, we have to act fast to save children’s lives.

Conflict and natural disasters threaten millions of children’s lives and well-being every year and the humanitarian needs are greater today than ever before.

Right now, 357 million children are living in conflict zones around the world and more people than ever are being forced to flee their homes. Meanwhile, the number of natural disasters has doubled in the last 20 years.

No matter what the emergency, children always suffer the most.

The needs are huge, but so is our determination to reach every child caught up in crisis. Since we launched our Emergency Fund over ten years ago, we’ve been able to respond wherever the need is greatest, whether a crisis is making the headlines or has been largely forgotten by the world.

With your support, we can be ready to send life-saving food, shelter and medicines straight to where they are most urgently needed.

Emergency Health Unit

The Emergency Health Unit enables us to deploy world-class health professionals to an injured child's side within 72 hours.

How your donation will help children

In Syria and Iraq, we’re doing everything we can to reach children whose lives have been destroyed by war. In Yemen, we've helped more than three million people living through brutal conflict. In Bangladesh, we’re supporting the persecuted Rohingya who have been forced from their homes in Myanmar.

And these are just emergencies that make the news – many don’t.

For the children caught up in forgotten crises, such as the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the impact can be devastating. But our Emergency Fund means that we can respond to disasters not covered by the media – and let the world know what’s happening.

In 2017 alone, we reached over 8.5 million children through our emergency responses.


Yannick's lucky escape

Yannick* was fifteen years old when militants entered his village in the Kasai Oriental region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a hail of gunfire that sent families fleeing in to the bush. The militants had arrived to recruit children and force them to fight. Before he could flee, Yannick* was one of the first to be selected.

The militants took him to another village where a “baptism” ceremony had been prepared for new recruits. Here, children were told that the ceremony would give the boys mystical powers and the strength to fight the well-armed soldiers. They were told that bullets could not hurt them, and that even if they were shot and injured, they would not die. Armed with nothing more than a stick, they were then sent off to fight.

Yannick* describes how he was one of four children made to walk in single file towards a group of soldiers. Yannick* was third in line. The soldiers opened fire as soon as they saw the group. At first, safe in the knowledge that their earlier baptism had left them untouchable by bullets, the boys simply stood and observed the men as they fired at them. But when the two boys in front of Yannick* were shot and fell to the ground dead, he and the other remaining child fled into the bush.


Yannick*, 16, a former child soldier with his mother in Kasai Region, DRC.

Yannick* with his mother in Kasai Region, DRC.

They hid for two days and nights before deciding to come out. When the pair emerged, they were discovered by Save the Children staff.

Yannick* was able to return home and received support through one of our programmes that offers safe and supervised play for children affected by conflict. Here, he enjoys playing football and card games with his friends which, he says, helps him to forget some of the things he has seen. The programme also allows trained Save the Children staff to monitor children and identify those in need of further help.

Yannick* has hope for the future. He would like to return to school and, one day, he says, have a career.


Yannick* plays a game of cards outside his home, in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Yannick* plays a game of cards outside his home.

Conflict has been raging in the DRC for 20 years. But last year the humanitarian situation dramatically deteriorated, leaving more than 13 million people in need of assistance.

Millions have been uprooted from their homes and face widespread human rights violations. Over 7 million people don’t have access to enough food and 2 million children are severely malnourished.

Through our Emergency Fund, we’re providing life-saving healthcare through mobile health clinics and repairing damaged schools to get children back into education. We’re also delivering psychosocial support and providing children with a safe space to play, learn and be protected.

But we need your help to do more if we are to meet the massive needs of children caught up in this devastating, forgotten crisis.

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