Help in disasters, crises and conflicts overseas

Whatever the crisis, wherever it happens, a Red Cross team will be on the scene to help.

Photo: IFRC

It could be a cyclone.

An earthquake or a fire.

A disease outbreak or even a war.

Whatever the crisis, wherever it happens, a Red Cross or Red Crescent team will be on the scene to help.

And that’s because of people like you.

How does my donation help?

Your donation to the International Disaster Fund means Australian Red Cross and our partners can be there to help people overseas. It means we can:

  • help people overseas prepare for a crisis and reduce their risk before it happens
  • have emergency response teams in places hit hard by disasters and conflict
  • support people affected by crises to recover safely and with dignity

You’re contributing to aid driven by local people, based on what works in their communities. It’s faster, smarter and more effective. It can help stop disasters and conflicts from becoming humanitarian crises.

About the International Disaster Fund

From 19 January – 23 January 2022 donations to the International Disaster Fund up to a value of $346,500 have supported our response to the Tonga volcanic eruption and tsunami and our broader work with Tonga Red Cross.

That support has included:

  • emergency relief items to support the response operation
  • specialist aid workers to assist local teams to respond
  • support to the core operating costs of Tonga Red Cross to ensure they can continue to deliver a strong disaster response program and services to affected communities

For now, we have paused donations to the Fund earmarked for Tonga as we have met the required funding for meeting immediate relief needs. These needs included access to safe drinking water, shelter kits, blankets, kitchen items, and help with reconnecting family members as communications infrastructure is being repaired.

Our support for Tonga is informed by a locally led response and appropriate to the needs and capacities on the ground. The total population of Tonga is approximately 107,000 – roughly the same as the City of Bendigo in Victoria – and prior to the disaster the Tonga Red Cross was a small team of 10 staff and 40 volunteers. Australian Red Cross has been working with the Tonga Red Cross for several years as one of its priority country partners in the region, including disaster preparedness and response such as emergency stock management, volunteer training and community engagement. We will continue to work closely with Tonga Red Cross and are standing by ready to respond to the humanitarian needs.

The International Disaster Fund enables Australian Red Cross to support the lifesaving work of Red Cross and Red Crescent partners in countries affected by disasters, crises and conflict. This may include disaster preparedness, risk mitigation, emergency response and recovery activities.

From time to time, we may use the fund to respond to a specific disaster event for a set period of time. All donations made during that period will be directed to Red Cross’ work on that event.

Donations over $2 to the International Disaster Fund are tax-deductible in Australia. You will get a receipt in your name in an email when you donate online.

When the fund is used for a specific event, your donation is also tax deductible because it supports our work with countries classified as ‘developing countries’ for the purposes of the Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Scheme.

When the International Disaster Fund is used for a specific event, at least 90c in the dollar goes to our humanitarian programs. Not more than 10c is used for indirect administrative costs like receipting donations, IT costs and other overheads.

Any interest earned on donations goes back into the fund to support our humanitarian work.

We really appreciate the generosity but we’re unable to distribute donated goods, especially overseas. There are several good reasons for this. Every item has to be checked, cleaned, sorted, packed, transported, stored and distributed, which hugely increases the cost of the relief effort and diverts from work that may be needed on the ground. 

When we provide relief supplies, they are carefully selected, packed for quick distribution and customs clearance, and checked to ensure they are what people really need.

Unwanted boxes of donated goods can clog ports and post offices and actually prevent the delivery of essential items like medicines and relief supplies.

The websiteDonateResponsibly.org has a great explanation of what can go wrong.

But if you have good-quality clothes or household items, our Red Cross Shops would gratefully accept them, to on-sell in Australia and raise funds for our vital work.

Find your nearest Red Cross shop.

It ensures sound risk mitigation strategies and well-trained local response teams are in place well before a disaster strikes.

The impact of the disaster on lives and homes can be reduced, and relief supplies can get to people much faster.

Aid doesn’t have to be shipped in – it’s local and ready to go.

Charity donations of $2 or more to Australian Red Cross may be tax-deductible in Australia. Site protected by Google Invisible reCAPTCHA. © Australian Red Cross 2022. ABN 50 169 561 394