International Outreach

Disaster Relief

First — Do No Harm. This principle has guided Catholic health care providers since the founding of this ministry and it must also guide our international outreach activities.

Catholic social teaching provides us much guidance on how we should enliven this ministry in the developing world. Please see the Call to Solidarity.

Because of its strong background in emergency preparedness and response, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is a natural partner for Catholic health care organizations to work with when disaster strikes. CRS adheres to international standards to ensure that disaster-affected populations are able to meet their basic right to live a life with dignity.

CRS works directly with affected communities and local partners to help restore and strengthen their pre-disaster capacities. It also works with a wide variety of partners in disaster situations. Partners can include local communities, local churches, local and international non-governmental organizations, local governments and United Nations agencies. As a member of the Caritas Internationalis (CI) Federation, CRS also coordinates with other CI members during emergency responses.

Learn more about CRS' disaster response

Disaster Response: Considerations for Catholic Health Care

Disaster Response Considerations

This brochure by the Catholic Health Association of the United States, with assistance from Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA, provides ministry leaders with considerations for how health care organizations can appropriately respond in times of domestic or international disaster.

Sections include:

  • Important Cautions
  • Most Effective Practices
  • Additional Information

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Download a copy


Humanitarian Response

The Sphere Project is another resource for Catholic ministry. It is a voluntary initiative that brings a wide range of humanitarian agencies together around a common aim — to improve the quality of humanitarian assistance and increase accountability of humanitarian actors to their constituents, donors and affected populations. The Sphere Handbook, Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response, is one of the most widely known and internationally recognized sets of common principles and universal minimum standards in life-saving areas of humanitarian response. Established in 1997, the Sphere Project is not a membership organization. Governed by a board composed of representatives of global networks of humanitarian agencies, the Sphere Project today is a vibrant community of humanitarian response practitioners.

Learn more and access the 2011 edition of the Sphere Project handbook

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti has changed the way we as a ministry need to proceed with providing disaster relief and humanitarian aid. Collaboration is essential.

Access an article about CHA's 2011 Global Summit which provided information about disaster response.