Newly released results from a survey of disaster relief and humanitarian response organizations shows less than one-quarter of responding organizations (22%) thought they would be able to respond to a major natural disaster at the same level as in previous years. The survey was conducted by rapid response disaster relief organization Airlink and the Clinton Global Initiative.
Release of the results of the survey coincides with the beginning (June 1st) of the Atlantic Hurricane season, which in recent years has heavily impacted communities across the Caribbean, like those in the US Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico, as well as the continental United States.
The survey sought to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the disaster relief and humanitarian response sectors who typically respond to natural disasters across the US and globally.
Overall, results show a sector deeply financially impacted by COVID-19. As well as confirming only 22 per cent of respondents could respond to a major disaster (for example: flood, hurricane, or cyclone) at the same level as in previous years, the survey also showed that:
- 10 % would not be in a position to respond at all to an event in the next 3 – 9 months
- 68 % of respondents said any response would be substantially reduced in terms of duration of mission, number of volunteers deployed and resources that could be deployed.
Additionally, the survey revealed that:
- 81 % of respondent organizations had been forced to cancel fundraising events or future events
- 75 % of respondent organizations reported they had been forced to significantly alter their deployment plans.
- 75 %t of respondent organizations had been forced to change their funding goals.
Airlink and the Clinton Global Initiative (an initiative of the Clinton Foundation) partnered to survey humanitarian and disaster relief nonprofits, government agencies, and other organizations within their extensive stakeholder networks. The survey comprised 26 detailed questions and had over 60 respondents. The sample reflected a mix of organizations in terms of scale, regional and global reach, and resource level.
“By harvesting these insights, we sought to assess the relative health of the sector, and its capacity to respond to natural disasters which we know are coming, for example, Atlantic hurricane season”, said Airlink CEO Steven J. Smith, “by understanding the depth of the problems these response organizations face we can formulate ways to mitigate COVID-19’s impact. For Airlink that means harnessing the power of the aviation sector to create a pipeline of dependable air transport and air cargo lift through our AviationC.A.R.E.S. appeal, relieving nonprofit responders of the costs of air transport. This leaves them free to concentrate limited resources on service delivery and supplies”.
“Since the launch of the CGI Action Network, we have found that the best way to prepare and respond to natural disasters is through joint efforts. This is all the more critical now that we are operating in the context of a global pandemic. We have to find new ways of working – we have to be adaptable and work with fewer financial resources and different logistical constraints. This virtual convening will help us identify common challenges and find the best way forward to continue protecting and supporting communities who will be affected by hurricanes and the continued challenge of COVID-19 this year,” explained Lisena DeSantis, CEO of the Clinton Global Initiative.