Disaster Relief

Affecting Global Change

World Environment Day is held annually on June 5. It is an international day for raising awareness and taking action on urgent environmental issues.

Since it was first celebrated in 1974 World Environment Day has helped generate political momentum for the preservation and enhancement of the world’s environment. From marine pollution and desertification to sustainable consumption, wildlife crime and global disasters, World Environment Day is a global catalyst for public discourse on all aspects of the world’s environment.

160 Million
are affected by natural disasters every year

1 Million
after the 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake

are children

Sources: World Bank, washingtonpost.com, cinewswires.com

UNEP and the Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is the specialized agency within the United Nations (UN) system helping set the global environmental agenda. It was established by UN resolution in 1972 and acts as an authority and advocate for the environment within the global discussion on sustainable development.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the UN in 2015, contains the world's resolution "to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources." UNEP helps work toward fulfilling the environmental dimension of the Agenda's 17 goals and 169 targets.

Some of the environmental success targets of the Sustainable Development Goals are:

  • Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
  • By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
  • By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
  • By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
  • By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes
  • By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
  • By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
  • By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world
  • By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development
People lugging a bicycle through a flood

The Link Between the Environment and Poverty

We are intricately connected to our world. We receive food and water from it. It provides a livelihood for many, and it contributes to our prosperity and well-being. Our behavior affects our environment, which in turn affects our behavior.

In recent decades we have begun to better understand the intricate connection we have to our environment, that environmental sustainability is intertwined with social and economic sustainability and how this connection is particularly sharp for the poor.

Poverty often causes the poor to put pressure on their environment, and in turn the environment contributes to the suffering the poor endure. High mortality rates and insecurity in old age contribute to larger families. Overcrowded urban areas where millions of the poor live in slum conditions increase the risk of disease and violence. Limited access to sanitation and clean water lead to poor hygiene practices and more disease, which hinder the ability of the poor to work or attend school. And when nature strikes, the poor suffer disproportionately.

In 2015 the World Bank reported that nine percent of the world’s disaster events since 1980 occurred in low-income countries. But these countries experienced 48 percent of the deaths.

Damage to the environment increases the impact floods and other natural disasters have, and the poor bear the brunt. "Natural disasters" are as much a result of poor government, bad infrastructure, population density, and unequal living conditions as anything else. Poverty helps create a disaster.

In 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami; killed 230,000 people. All of them were in lower middle-income countries (e.g., Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, etc.). In 2011, a similar magnitude earthquake spawned a tsunami that struck high income Japan. The waves were 30 feet taller than the Indian Ocean tsunami, but only 19,000 people died. Poverty was the difference in the death toll.

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010 killed 223,000 people. Equally forceful earthquakes hit Chile and New Zealand later that same year. Five hundred people died in Chile, and no deaths occurred in New Zealand. Poverty caused the difference.

A girl sits in the remains of a destroyed building

How We Provide Disaster Relief

In low-income countries, children often bear the brunt of natural and man-caused emergencies. Amid earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, wars and conflicts, donating to the Disaster Relief fund, a tangible demonstration of the meaning of compassion, has been used to aid those with dire needs.

In times of disaster, children living in poverty are the most vulnerable and they need immediate help. Your donation to disaster relief will help a child recover physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Medical stethoscope icon
Medical Care

Emergency medical supplies, sanitation needs, and treatment coordination

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Nutrition & Shelter

Supply emergency food and water, build or provide temporary shelters, and replace household items and school supplies

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Guidance & Support

Give comfort and hope through the spiritual word, counseling for children after trauma

A boy points out destruction that occurred because of a natural disaster

Donate Disaster Relief Resources

Amid earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, volcanic eruptions, flooding, drought, wars and conflicts, donations to our disaster relief efforts have been used to:

  • Supply emergency food and water
  • Build or provide temporary shelters
  • Send emergency medical supplies
  • Organize treatment for injuries with local doctors
  • Provide for basic sanitation needs
  • Replace school supplies and household items
  • Provide counseling for children after traumatic events
  • Give comfort and hope through spiritual support
A donation in support of World Environment Day will help children in poverty recover physically, emotionally, and spiritually in the aftermath of a disaster.

Give With Confidence

With Compassion, your donation is used wisely to help children around the world.

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Trusted Charity Since 1952


Donating to a charity is an important decision. So when you’re passionate about a cause and want to make a difference, we encourage you to do your research. Compassion is 100 percent committed to financial integrity, stewardship, and using each dollar wisely. If you have any questions about Compassion or exactly how your donation will be used, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Please call us at 800-336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT, to speak with a Compassion representative.