Responding to Crises

Helping people affected by disasters and other humanitarian emergencies is at the core of what USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) does every day, all over the world. It reflects our values as Americans, demonstrates our global leadership, and makes the world a safer place.

BHA leads and coordinates the U.S. Government's disaster assistance efforts overseas. The Bureau responds to an average of 75 crises in more than 65 countries every year, ensuring that aid reaches people affected by natural disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanoes, as well as protracted crises, such as drought and conflict. We also support food insecure refugees fleeing war, violence, or persecution.

BHA has several hundred staff working from its Washington, D.C., headquarters and in nearly 50 countries around the world. Its team of humanitarian professionals, policy advisors, and technical experts—including infectious disease specialists, nutritionists, logisticians, and hydrometeorological advisors—identify the most urgent humanitarian needs and work alongside local governments to assist tens of millions of people and save countless lives.

BHA’s strategically located warehouses in the U.S.—in Miami and Houston—and overseas in Australia, Djibouti, Ghana, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates are stocked with food and essential relief supplies, such as emergency shelter materials, warm blankets, water treatment systems, and hygiene kits. BHA also has the ability to charter trucks, boats, or aircraft to deliver these critical commodities rapidly to disaster-affected areas around the globe.

Longer-Term Recovery Efforts

BHA does more than respond to disasters. We help crisis-affected communities by building on our humanitarian responses and supporting early recovery efforts that restore and protect basic systems and services, establishing the initial foundations for long-term recovery. We invest in risk reduction programs that prevent or reduce risks associated with chronic and recurrent hazards. We build the resilience of people, communities, countries, and systems by helping them mitigate, adapt to, and recover from shocks and stresses in a way that reduces chronic vulnerability and facilitates inclusive growth.