The top humanitarian & disaster relief acronyms you should know

When life changes in an instant, those affected require everything, fast.

Often we can see images on our screens of humanitarian efforts mobilising almost immediately. Food, water, shelters, toilets, child play kits. That doesn't happen by chance!

Humanitarian & government organisations are constantly preparing and ready to act. With a global network of warehouses, personnel and partnerships it's kind of like another world, and the 'Humanitarians' definitely have their own language. So many acronyms!

Story continues after "KEY ACRONYMS YOU NEED TO KNOW"


  1. WASH = Water, sanitation and hygiene

  2. CFS = Child Friendly Space

  3. PSS = Psychosocial support

  4. CRI = Core relief item (also seen as 'NFI' - non-food item)

  5. IDP = Internally Displaced Persons (or People)

  6. EMT = Emergency medical teams or technician (aka paramedics)

  7. ES = Emergency shelter

Our focus is always, children. That means in a crisis...

Ensuring children have access to WASH and are seen by an EMT, if required. No matter the location, conflict zone or refugee camp, creating spaces to play via a CFS means they can also receive child appropriate PSS. Whether children are forced to cross borders or an IDP, CRI and ES should be available as soon as humanly possible.

When emergencies and disasters happen, partnering and supporting local organisations is key. Local organisations are the quiet heroes of the humanitarian world. We support them and our global partners via funds, supplies, logistics and also, those amazing humanitarians.

These are acronyms most of us will thankfully never understand first-hand. What we can understand is our ability to help all children survive, recover and someday, build a future.

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Emergency Response

Because we are already on the ground in 100 countries, World Vision can offer immediate and life-saving support when a disaster strikes. Emergency supplies, such as water purification tablets, hygiene kits and blankets are pre-positioned in warehouses around the world so it can get to the affected area within days.

COVID-19 is no different. Our plan is to limit the spread of the virus, to strengthen health systems and workforce, and to protect the most vulnerable children and the ones impacted by the pandemic.

  • Our goal is to help 72 million people, half of them children.
  • We already reached 36 million people in the first three months of our response.