UNDP Around the world

Crisis response: Why we do it

Ebola workers in Sierra LeoneUNDP is the lead UN agency on the coordination of payments to Ebola workers. As part of our early recovery efforts, UNDP is also making welfare payments to vulnerable communities affected by the disease. Photo: UNDP Sierra Leone

In the moments immediately following a crisis, triggered by disaster or conflict, national and local actors and their partners face a surge in needs. They are confronted with overwhelming and often life-threatening obstacles, and can be directly and personally affected or incapacitated by the crisis. The humanitarian community is deployed from the outside to assist crisis-affected populations.

In these particularly difficult contexts, UNDP triggers its crisis response mechanisms to ensure the organization can continue to be a reliable partner on the ground and to immediately deliver support on recovery, working closely with humanitarian actors. Our ability to act quickly also allows us to establish an entry-point for our early recovery and long-term resilience-building efforts.

Partnering with communities and governments


UNDP is a long-standing partner to governments and communities in their efforts to build long-term resilience. In today’s world, inequalities are widening within countries, profound tensions are making some societies vulnerable to crisis and even collapse, and competition is intensifying around scarce natural resources. Climate change and increased vulnerability to natural disasters are also affecting millions of people.

Against this backdrop, many governments and communities are facing crises triggered by disasters or violent conflicts. UNDP works to remain a reliable and predictable partner to them, supporting their recovery and resilience-building efforts immediately and effectively after the onset of a crisis with fast and targeted interventions.

UNDP’s response to the Nepal earthquake

 Photo: UNDP Nepal.


UNDP achieved encouraging results in Nepal in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. We have:

  • supported debris removal to enable continued search and rescue activities and allow access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance;
  • supported rapid restoration of access roads and essential services in remote areas so that relief supplies can be delivered and communities stabilized;
  • deployed additional capacities to shore up gaps in relief management and coordination, undertake rapid structural assessment of public buildings for safety, and provided basic equipment for their uninterrupted operation and communication (e.g. solar electricity system, communication equipment, etc.).

In Chautara and Sindhupalchowk districts, UNDP set up a debris management project to demolish and clear the rubble from more than 1,000 houses. This programme included income-generation activities – cash-for-work projects that put communities and people at the centre of reconstruction and provided people with much-needed jobs and money to support their families.

UNDP also immediately supported the Government of Nepal with planning, information management, cluster coordination and assessment for the Post Disaster Needs Assessment.

UNDP mobilized USD$11 million out of the total $16 million (about 69 percent) required to address immediate early recovery needs for the country. MORE >