The difficult process of recovery has begun in Cumbria following the recent destruction caused by flooding. We think it is really important to emphasise how, with your donations, we were able to respond to the floods and how our funds are used to help when disasters strike. So, here is a brief outline of the way our funds work:

General Funds

We are able to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies thanks to money from our General Funds, which supporters like you generously donate to every day.

Donations to our General Fund Appeal support all our work, including our long-term programmes in the UK and overseas, as well as emergency response.

In the case of the recent floods, our General Funds meant we had local, well-trained volunteers who were ready to respond immediately, and that they had the equipment they needed, including search and rescue boats and 4×4 ambulances. So the donations people gave us yesterday mean we are able to respond today.

Disaster Fund

Although our General Funds do a great job of covering our ongoing work and most emergency response call-outs in the UK, sometimes we need to quickly access more money in order to help us respond. That’s why we’ve got a Disaster Fund.

We haven’t yet needed to make a donation from the Disaster Fund in response to the recent flooding in Cumbria, but we have learned from experience that being prepared can play a major role in saving lives.

Our Disaster Fund means we can respond as soon as we are needed, anywhere in the world if there’s a big emergency. For example, it enabled us to respond to drought in Kenya by releasing £149,000 to provide urgent humanitarian assistance for 15,000 families. During the UK floods of 2007, we were able to buy beds, bedding and other supplies when displaced residents in rest centres needed them.

Emergency appeals

During emergency situations, we can launch a specific emergency appeal for donations if required. For disasters in the UK, we wait for a request from the Local Authority before launching an appeal. So far, there hasn’t been a request from the relevant authorities for the recent floods.

As assessments reveal the extent of the damage caused and the needs of people in Cumbria, a request might be made, in which case we are ready to launch an appeal, assuming all necessary criteria are met: that there is a need for the money, and that we have the capacity to spend the money donated through our own programmes and other relevant organisations.

If a disaster strikes overseas, we might for instance, be requested to launch an appeal by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Whichever fund is most appropriate to use to help people in desperate need all over the world, one thing is very clear: we couldn’t respond so quickly and effectively without your generous support.

For further information see donation enquiries