First — Do No Harm. This principle has guided Catholic health care since the founding of our ministry and it must also guide our disaster response efforts — both domestically and internationally.

CHA is oftentimes called in times of disaster: by those in the midst of a disaster, asking for us to help coordinate potential response resources; and by those who would like information on how they might best provide assistances to impacted health care organizations and devastated communities. While CHA is a resource for members, our best ability in disaster response lies in sharing relevant, timely information by hosting networking calls on specific disaster areas, and also, in sharing links where information is provided to known, trusted resources — particularly as they relate to our Catholic ministry. A listing of such organizations and items are included on this page.

Please feel free to recommend and share any additional items by contacting Bruce Compton, CHA's senior director of Global Health, who is also available if you are looking to be connected with resources.

Upcoming Events

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CHA & Catholic Relief Services Urgent Response for Earthquake in Turkey and Syria

On February 6, 2023, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated large areas of central Turkey and northwest Syria. The death toll is in the thousands and continues to climb. It is the worst earthquake to strike the region this century.
Learn more on how to donate to the relief efforts


Families across East Africa are facing drought and hunger.

Famine could be on the horizon in Somalia — without your immediate support. Communities are experiencing extreme water shortages, and nearly 3 million people have been displaced. More than 1 million children under age 5 are facing acute malnutrition — without help now, nearly 330,000 are at risk of dying.

Hunger Crisis in East Africa


What's the Best Way to Help? Watch this video.

Most Effective Practices, Cautions & Considerations

There are many considerations for Catholic Health Care ministries when responding to disasters that are not in their own markets — in support of the mission to "Go and Do Likewise." Review Most Effective practices, cautions and considerations.


Donating/Connecting to Catholic Agencies

Here are agencies Catholic health care ministries can contact to donate money or learn needs, as well as some specific links to useful resources on each of their websites.

Catholic Charities USA Catholic Relief Services

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Prayer Resources in Times of Disaster

Relief groups rally to help those sheltering, fleeing in Ukraine

Mar 4, 2022, 17:23 PM
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Catholic relief groups and other organizations providing humanitarian support to Ukrainians amid the invasion by Russian forces say the need for assistance is great.

A social worker provides art therapy for children in Boryslav, a city in Ukraine, as part of the effort by Caritas International and Catholic Relief Services to support residents amid the attack on and invasion of their nation by Russia.
Caritas Ukraine

The effort to meet that need is hampered by the closure of major highways as military forces position themselves and by street combat and by rocket and missile strikes. Relief organizations also face challenges accessing cash as other nations respond to Russia's aggression by closing off financial networks.

"The situation, as we all know, is very volatile," Moira Monacelli, director of the Vatican-based aid group Caritas International, said Friday. "It's changing day by day, hour by hour." Caritas is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations operating in over 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Monacelli was among representatives from several international humanitarian aid groups and U.S. Catholic health systems who discussed their efforts to bring in food, medical and other supplies and assist refugees during a networking Zoom call that was organized by CHA.

Bruce Compton, CHA's senior director of global health, moderated the call. He said it was prompted by queries from CHA members about how to help a population under siege. "I know this is an extremely emotional time for all of us as we consider what is happening in Ukraine," Compton said.

The organizations represented in the call shared links to websites giving details on their respective aid efforts in the region and where donations are accepted. The aid groups that took part in the call included:

Presenters discussed the importance of working thru established and trusted partners to meet the critical food, shelter, fuel and transportation needs of Ukrainians who are sheltering in place or attempting to flee to the relative safety of bordering nations.

Monacelli said the two member organizations within the Caritas confederation that are providing direct assistance in Ukraine have infrastructure in place in 65 locations in Ukraine and in neighboring countries, including Moldova, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, all of which are seeing inflows of refugees.

Monacelli said Caritas is providing shelter, transportation and psychosocial support to the traumatized refugees.

Kevin Kostic, director of donor relations for Catholic Relief Services, said his organization is partnering with Caritas and other groups in its relief efforts. He shared photos from Ukraine taken since the Russian invasion began last week. One image showed elderly men and women sheltering in the cold cellar of a cathedral about 90 miles west of the capital city of Kyiv as bombs exploded outside.

"What we're hearing from Caritas Ukraine in particular is that older and sick people are really overwhelmed and often completely on their own," Kostic said.

The work of Catholic Relief Services includes coordinating aid distribution with leaders in Ukraine, recruiting and mobilizing volunteers to help with humanitarian efforts and transporting children out of violent areas, he said.

Like representatives of other groups participating in the 90-minute CHA Zoom meeting, Kostic said the immediate need is for cash to fund efforts already under way.

Multiple CHA member health systems, including Providence St. Joseph Health and Bon Secours Mercy Health, indicated they are already providing cash support to ground aid efforts in Ukraine.

Susan Huber is president of Ascension Global Mission, which oversees international aid efforts by the Ascension health system. She said the system is encouraging its associates and its suppliers who want to do something to help Ukrainians to stick with cash donations to established aid groups for now.

"Doing is donating because the people on the ground are the people who know what's needed, what they can get and how to access it," Huber said.

In time, she said, Ascension will work with its partner MedSurplus Alliance to send specific medical supplies that are requested by the government or medical organizations in Ukraine. She said the health system bases its policies for aid donations on the best practices outlined by groups such as CHA and MedSurge Alliance. One of those practices, she noted, is not to send unrequested donations.

CHA has guidelines and resources for ethical disaster response on its website.

  • Disaster Response
  • Ukraine
  • Lisa Eisenhauer

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