Our Work

Emergency Response Programs

Situation Overview

In 1949, 40 Austrian children were taken into safe new homes and families after being orphaned during World War II. Thus began the mission that drives SOS Children’s Villages: to provide a safe haven for children in need.

Today, humanitarian crises are increasingly frequent and severe, and they often occur against a complex backdrop of political instability, widespread poverty and weak state institutions.

These extreme circumstances impact family and community resilience, putting children at an increased risk of losing care and protection when they need it most.

children are living in extreme poverty
children live in areas affected by armed conflict
children are displaced from their homes
2001 in every
children is a refugee

Our Impact
services provided to vulnerable children and families in 2016
Emergency Response Programs in 2017
Emergency Response Programs since 1988
countries have been served by SOS Emergency Response Programs

Protection from Harm

With a trusted and enduring presence in local communities, our locally led teams are uniquely positioned to provide children with protection and care before, during and after emergencies.

When humanitarian crises occur, SOS is there to quickly move children out of harm’s way and into safe environments where we provide the food, clothing, medical care and psychological support children need. We also reunite children with their families, deliver life-saving aid to affected families, and offer special protection and care to traumatized children.

SOS Emergency Response Programs:

Alleviate Suffering

with food, water and shelter.

Reunite Children

with their families.

Protect and Care

for traumatized children in Child-Friendly Spaces.


with NGOs, governments, and the private sector for impactful disaster response.

Learn More: SOS Children's Villages in Action

Case Studies

Responding to the Refugee & Migrant Crisis

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Europe has seen a sharp increase in refugees since 2015, including unaccompanied and separated refugee children. Many have faced perilous sea journeys to reach Europe. Children and adolescents are in need of special care and protection.

More than 1.3 million people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe since 2015, creating major humanitarian and resettlement challenges in coastal countries and the Western Balkans. When it comes to children, receiving countries have struggled to provide care, housing and education.

In response to this humanitarian crisis SOS has helped thousands of people on the move since 2015, including on-the-ground aid in at least 14 countries. Thousands of unaccompanied or separated children have received care and shelter through SOS. We provide safe and protected environments in our Child Friendly Spaces. Information and communication services are provided at ICT corners. We have distributed hundreds of thousands food, clothing and hygiene items and provided counseling services to children and their families.

Learn More: Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe

Rebuilding Nepal

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SOS provides care and support to children and families affected by natural disasters, such as the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

In the immediate aftermath, SOS provided families with blankets, mattresses and financial support. Children suffering from the trauma of the earthquake received psychological support, food, and recreational activities. SOS teams have also helped rebuild schools and provide education and school supplies for the children.

With the help of our supporters, SOS was able to respond quickly to the needs of children and families following the earthquake. We did this by strengthening vulnerable families and providing children who lost their families with temporary and long-term care. Since 2015, 28,000 children and their families in Nepal have received help.

Learn More: Nepal Earthquake

Protecting Children During Syria's Civil War

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Since early 2011 the Syrian civil war has taken a terrible toll on children and families, causing the largest human displacement crisis today. Millions of people have fled the country, millions more are internally displaced. The war has left schools, hospitals and entire cities in ruin.

According to the latest UN estimates, 13.5 million people - nearly half of them children - are in need of humanitarian assistance. Both the families who remain in their homes and the millions who are displaced face severe hardship and require support to meet their basic needs.

SOS Children’s Villages has worked in Syria for more than 30 years. An emergency response program was launched in 2013 to provide acute assistance to children and families suffering from the conflict. We provide care and counseling for hundreds of unaccompanied and separated children in interim care centers, Child Friendly Spaces where thousands of children are able to play and learn in a safe environment, and supplies such as food, water and other essential items to cover the basic needs of internally displaced families.

Read More: Syrian Crisis

Responding to Severe Drought in East Africa

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The food crisis in East Africa has left over 12 million people starving or dangerously malnourished. As a result, children are at a much higher risk of being orphaned, abandoned, trafficked, or worse.

SOS is providing critical aid to the children and families affected by the crisis. We have set up shelters where children can receive psychological and medical support, while working to reunite children with their families.

As estimated 1.4 million children are at risk of dying due to malnutrition, and the lack of clean water facilitates the spread of deadly diseases. In Somalia, SOS runs a medical center, which has seen an increase in patients due to the food crisis.

Learn More: Food Crisis in East Africa

Download the Fact Sheet

Download our informational fact sheet to learn more about SOS Children's Villages' Emergency Response Programs around the world.


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