HHI Disaster Relief Hub

The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative is pleased to support organizations responding to conflict and disaster globally. We recognize that due to the recent devastation brought on by hurricanes, earthquakes and ongoing conflicts around the world it is difficult to know how best to help those in need.  

We have developed a list on HHI’s Disaster Relief Hub that is comprised of organizations that are on the ground helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Jose, Hurricane Maria and the earthquakes in Mexico. The list also includes organizations helping families fleeing violence in conflict affected countries such as Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, Iraq and Myanmar.

While the largest influx of finacial support takes place during the short-term relief phase, it's important to be aware that the donations are also critical for the planning, preparation, mitigation, and resilience phases of disaster. For those interested in learning more about funding the entire cycle of humanitarian response, we’ve included additional organizations researching how donor funding is most effectively spent at every stage of an emergency.

We welcome your thoughts and expertise on additional organizations providing relief efforts on the ground. Please email hhi@harvard.edu if you would like to offer suggestions for the bulletin board.

Free Online Course on Humanitarian Response

For those interested in learning more about humanitarian response and the aid community, HHI and HarvardX are running a free, online course titled Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster. This course seeks to prepare learners to recognize and analyze emerging challenges in the humanitarian field. The course explores the ethical and professional principles that guide humanitarian response to conflict and disaster. Participants will learn the legal and historical frameworks that shaped these principles, test their applicability to the challenges faced by humanitarian actors today.

Through four case studies covering the responses to crises in Goma (Zaire), Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Pakistan, participants will engage with Harvard faculty, current practitioners, and one another. These cases introduce major trends affecting the current landscape of humanitarian response – including rapid population displacement, violence against aid workers, and civil-military engagement. Thoughtfully engaging with this course will prepare participants to be informed and aware humanitarian practitioners, scholars, policy-makers, and global citizens.

The course can be found here: https://goo.gl/LG7QDC 

HHI Director's Statement on Hurricane Maria

Hurricane and Earthquake Relief

The Red Cross

Hurricane Harvey
Through donors, the American Red Cross is providing emergency assistance in the amount of $400 to qualified households in Texas directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Registration for this program will be open through Tuesday, October 10, 2017.

Hurricane Irma
Red Cross workers are providing food, shelter, relief supplies, health services and emotional support in the hardest hit areas. Red Cross vehicles are delivering meals and relief supplies to people cleaning up their homes.

Hurricane Maria
The Red Cross will be deploying relief supplies such as water, rice, beans, ready-to-eat meals, cleanup kits, home repair kits, tarps, trash bags, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, work gloves and more. Given that communication is almost impossible with cell service interrupted, we are shipping in satellite phones and other technology supplies to help. On the Virgin Islands, Red Cross workers will continue to operate and support emergency shelters. On Puerto Rico, shelters are managed by the government, but the Red Cross is preparing to support sheltering efforts if needed.

Mexico Earthquakes
The Mexican Red Cross deployed dozens of doctors and nurses, alongside more than 90 ambulances and its urban rescue unit. In all, more than 500 volunteers and employees were activated in the hours immediately following the deadly quake.

The International Medical Corps

Responding to Caribbean nations, Puerto Rico and Florida
IMC is responding in Puerto Rico, Florida, and across the Caribbean to ensure families are safe and have the resources they need to recover. Thousands will need emergency medical care, access to clean water and proper sanitation to help prevent the outbreak of cholera and other water-borne diseases.

Save the Children

Hurricane Irma
Save the Children is mobilizing teams and supplies to reach children and families worst affected by the storm, including Child Friendly Space kits to be used in shelters after the storm passes to give kids a safe place to play and read away from the stress of the situation. In addition, baby and toddler items such as pack and play cribs, strollers, baby wash basins and infant hygiene supplies are being procured to help families who had to evacuate without needed items for their children.

Hurricane Harvey
To help children and families currently in shelters, Save the Children has expanded their emergency response programs in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas and are also delivering shelter supplies in Austin. Save the Children has also expanded its emergency response into Louisiana, where a team of staff has already distributed infant and toddler supplies to more than 50 families.

Hurricane Maria
Officials predict that it will be months before power is restored. Save the Children is on the ground in Puerto Rico, responding to the needs of children, mothers and families. In the Dominican Republic, Save the Children now broadening our response due to the added impact of Hurricane Maria. Many children have been forced to leave their homes.


U.S. Mexico, Cuba, Eastern Caribbean and Haiti
UNICEF is appealing for 18.1 million to support humanitarian response in the U.S. Mexico, Cuba, Eastern Caribbean and Haiti. UNICEF helps ensure that affected children and families can get clean water, that there are safe spaces for children, that education and health services can continue, and that basic humanitarian supplies are distributed. UNICEF is on the ground across the Caribbean countries devastated by Hurricane Irma with staff and supplies. We also stand prepared to support the needs of children affected by Hurricane Maria and the recent earthquakes in Mexico.

The International Rescue Committee

Emergency Response Fund
Support can provide emergency aid to families fleeing violence in conflict-affected countries, including Yemen, Nigeria and Iraq. The response includes: distributing cash so families can buy food and other essential items; ensuring the most vulnerable are identified, prioritized and given medical care at security screening centers; and supporting women and children with critical protection services.


Conflict and Disaster Worldwide

Concern Worldwide

Rohingya Response on the borders of Bangladesh and Myanmar
Concern Worldwide has stepped up its humanitarian response in Bangladesh as a result of the influx of Rohingya people crossing the border from Myanmar. Nearly 400,000 vulnerable Rohingyas have poured into the Cox’s Bazar area of southeastern Bangladesh since violence erupted in Rakhine State, Myanmar last month. Makeshift refugee camps are at full capacity with new arrivals, many of whom are suffering from gunshot wounds and other life-threatening injuries, urgently needing food, water, shelter, and medical assistance.


Mexico Earthquakes
Oxfam is assessing the damage and identifying the most urgent needs of affected people. We are coordinating with the government and other aid organizations, and developing a response plan to address affected peoples’ immediate relief and long-term recovery needs. 100% of funds designated for the earthquake in Mexico will be used for support services and relief and recovery efforts for affected areas.

Save the Children

Save the Children has been working in Yemen since 1963. The first international aid group in Yemen, we work nationally and locally to promote and protect children's rights, with programs in education, protection and survival.


Yemen Crisis Appeal
Years of conflict, drought and instability have left thousands of Yemenis struggling to get food, water and medicine. The continued airstrikes and fighting on the ground are putting many innocent lives in peril.  Despite the danger and obstacles, ICRC is supplying hospitals and clinics with medicines and emergency supplies to treat the wounded and sick.


UNHCR stands next to Yemeni families, asylum seekers and refugees in Yemen to provide them with vital support like shelter and healthcare in their time of greatest need, protecting them from further danger.

Other Resources

Center for Disaster Philanthropy

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy provides a variety of educational and informational services to help donors better understand what to do with their disaster-giving. Most disaster giving is made within a few days after a disaster, primarily by donors without ongoing disaster experience. CDP, focuses on disasters full-time, 365 days a year and support the full cycle of disasters including planning, preparation, mitigation, recovery, and resilience, as well as short-term relief.

Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator has become the nation's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. In our quest to help donors, our team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents. They’ve used this knowledge to develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess over 8,000 of America's best-known and some lesser known, but worthy, charities.


We welcome you to share your knowledge and expertise by recommending additional organizations and relief efforts taking place on the ground. Please email hhi@harvard.edu if you would like to offer suggestions for the bulletin board.