International aid organization, GOAL, will join a network of experts who can be called upon by the British Government in times of international crisis, such as famine, floods and earthquakes.

The new initiative will mobilize life-saving support from leading businesses and charities in the critical hours after a disaster strikes.

Supplies, experts and vital aid are too often tied up with paperwork, rather than being deployed straight to the disaster zone, according to the UK’s International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell.

The network allows organizations with experience in disaster response to access funding within hours, thereby reaching affected people faster and saving more lives. It will mean the best organisations can be mobilised in the critical first 72 hours following a disaster.

GOAL is one of an initial 34 non-government organisations that specialize in disaster response, invited by the UK Government to join the network.

Formed in 1977, GOAL is currently delivering aid or emergency relief in 13 developing countries. During its 35 years, GOAL has responded to many natural and manmade catastrophes, amongst which were the 1984-85 famine in Ethiopia, earthquakes in Kashmir and Haiti, and the 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami.

The new Rapid Response Fund will be activated in the event of a large-scale crisis. The selected organizations will be approached within two hours and be expected to take immediate action.

Mitchell said: “Clearly we need our best experts, equipment and aid on the scene as quickly as possible after a disaster, not tied up in red tape. GOAL needs to be able to do their job in that vital window of 72 hours, to save as many lives as possible.

“Only the professionals, with relevant skills and equipment will be approved.  By working with a small pool of specialists, we will end the dangerous crush of aid organizations that often pour into a disaster zone.

“These organisations represent the very best performing disaster response agencies. This will allow them to focus on delivery.  Make no mistake, however, qualification for the fund will be revoked at the first sign of poor performance.”

GOAL CEO, John O’Shea said: “GOAL is delighted to be selected by the British Government for the Rapid Response Fund. This facility will ensure a faster response time to humanitarian disasters, and will greatly enhance our ability to deliver life-saving relief to victims.”

Lord Paddy Ashdown’s review of how Britain responds to humanitarian emergencies said that a pre-qualification process would ensure there was a focus on delivery, not bureaucracy, in the first critical stage of disaster response.

GOAL is an international humanitarian agency dedicated to the alleviation of suffering amongst the poorest of the poor. GOAL works towards ensuring that the poorest and most vulnerable in our world and those affected by humanitarian crises have access to the fundamental needs and rights of life such as food, water, shelter, medical attention and primary education. Founded in Dublin, Ireland, in 1977, has spent more than $1 billion on the delivery of aid to the poor in more than 50 countries. 

John Lee

This picture taken by a Miyako City official on March 11, 2011 and released on March 18, 2011 shows a tsunami breeching