Crises and emergencies are growing in complexity, frequency and duration around the world. It is becoming difficult for local organisations and aid agencies to keep up with the level of humanitarian need, especially when it involves protracted conflict and economic insecurity. Tearfund does not believe that ‘natural’ disasters or complex crises are solely a ‘humanitarian’ issue that can be separated from development work. As far as possible, the underlying reasons for these situations must be addressed at the same time as assisting in life-saving activities.

If an emergency does occur, we seek to ‘build back better’ during the time of recovery, addressing not only physical loss, but through the restoring of relationships, support psychological trauma and long-term wellbeing.

Our approach

Our approach integrates resilience and risk reduction activities into the heart of our relief as well as our development work. Where we operate in conflict sensitive or disaster-prone locations, Tearfund’s work with teams and partners will follow one of these patterns: Risk Management - integrating the reduction of risks in our ongoing programming or Emergency Management - responding to the emergency needs while addressing root causes.


We believe in the role of faith leaders and faith-based organisations, and the part they must play in emergency response. We are working with other agencies to promote the work of local and national organisations, and you can read more about this on Localisation and Disasters.

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

This is a key aspect of working in disaster and crises contexts. Our primary aim is to decrease the likelihood and/or reduce the impact of any potential emergency in our ongoing programming. We can reduce the impact of disasters or crises by reducing the vulnerability of disaster-prone communities.

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preparing for disasters and crises

Equipping local organisations to prepare and reduce disaster impact

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responding to disasters and crises

Resourcing local organisations to respond to emergency needs

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Recovering from disasters and crises

Supporting local organisations to build back better

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learning and evaluations

We are committed to improving the design and implementation of all disaster response projects, as well as providing opportunities and resources for individuals to develop the skills and knowledge they need to effectively serve others.

Commitment to standards

As well as our internal commitments to Tearfund’s Quality Standards, we are committed to external standards, particularly the Core Humanitarian Standards (PDF 1.3 MB)

Cross-cutting themes

At Tearfund, we have specialist skills and experience in WASH, SGBV, Cash Programming, Livelihoods and Resilience specifically for disasters and emergencies. Within a disaster setting, it is important to think about the context and how our programming intersects with other issues. In this cross-cutting section, you will find information about how we address other contextual issues alongside our response to disasters.