Humanitarian and Emergency Response 


Total Emergencies/ Humanitarian Response Spending


In 2021, Misean Cara supported 37 Emergency and Humanitarian Response projects by 17 members in 15 countries, targeting 97,655 people.

Humanitarian emergencies arising from natural disasters, conflict or epidemics can have a catastrophic impact on people with few or no resources. Following such events, displacement, homelessness and hunger are frequent. In 2021, 235 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance and protection throughout the world.

Over the past year, Misean Cara members came to us for help to fund emergency and humanitarian responses to crises arising from events such as heavy storms in the Philippines, India and Kenya; a devastating earthquake in Haiti; and multiple other natural disasters. Populations forced to move due to armed conflict in South Sudan or unsettled by political instability and hostilities in Myanmar and Gaza also triggered the need for emergency assistance.

Having lived and worked in their communities for decades, missionaries have a deep knowledge of where local vulnerabilities exist and how aid can be delivered most effectively during an emergency. Missionaries also have the benefit of being trusted locally thanks to deep-rooted relationships established over many years, making it easier to work with local authorities to channel emergency aid quickly and effectively.

In addition to sudden-onset emergencies, Misean Cara members also responded to the urgent and ongoing needs brought on since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have hit the developing world especially hard. Responses to secondary impacts of the pandemic, like hunger, school closures, lost livelihoods and increases in gender-based violence, were integrated directly into new and existing projects.

In Chennai, India, the Salesian Sisters organised rapid relief measures for thousands of families in the city’s informal settlements whose homes were damaged or destroyed during heavy monsoon rains and flooding.

Photo: Salesian Sisters


Rapid Response to Monsoon Floods in Chennai, India

Misean Cara member:
Salesian Sisters


For almost two weeks in November 2021, heavy rains and strong monsoon winds battered the northern regions of Tamil Nadu in India, with almost 23 centimetres of rain falling on one day alone.

The heavy rainfall, along with overflowing canals and reservoirs, caused severe flooding that left the city of Chennai knee-deep in swirling waters that killed at least 16 people. More than 1,000 tenement settlements suffered damage to homes and left thousands of people without power, clean water or safe shelter.

The Salesian Sisters approached us for emergency funds to help 3,000 families recover from the devastation to their homes and lives, especially targeting children, pregnant women, persons with disablities and the elderly.

With the help of trained volunteers, the Sisters purchased and distributed essential food, water, rain gear and medical supplies. Volunteers also helped install 600 tarpaulins to homes until reconstruction could begin, and supplied more than a thousand people with emergency safety lights. Food from volunteer community kitchens provided meals and groceries to flood-affected households and nearly 3,000 families received counselling and psychosocial support for the trauma related to the monsoon.

As climate change threatens to drive more extreme weather events each year, the Sisters have also taken steps to help residents of Chennai be better prepared for future storms. Exploiting their relationships with local authorities, the Sisters organised residents into advocacy groups, helping them assert their rights to safe housing that can stand up to the impact of future climate change.

For further information about our work or to comment on this report, please contact:

Misean Cara
4th Floor, Callaghan House,
13-16 Dame Street, Dublin 2,
D02 HX67, Ireland

Tel: +353 (0) 1 405 5028
Facebook: /MiseanCaraIreland
Twitter: @miseancara

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Misean Cara gratefully acknowledges the funding support of Irish Aid.


Misean Cara has signed the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages for Non-Governmental Development Organisations.


Misean Cara is a member of the Charities Institute of Ireland.


Misean Cara gratefully acknowledges the funding support of GHR Foundation.


Misean Cara gratefully acknowledges the funding support of the Raskob Foundation.


Misean Cara gratefully acknowledges the funding support of the Brigidine Sisters.

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