Sudden Onset Disaster Response

Man fixing a roof in the Philippines

A sudden-onset disaster is triggered by a hazardous event that emerges quickly or unexpectedly.

They take many forms – from earthquakes, tsunamis or hurricanes. They all take lives, separate families and devastate communities. When they hit, local healthcare services can be overwhelmed and so governments will put the call out for emergency medical assistance. We are part of the team ready to respond on behalf of the UK government.

Supplies being delivered following the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, Philippines in 2013

We are core partners of the UK Government’s Emergency Medical Team (UK EMT).

UK EMT are the front line of the UK’s response to a humanitarian crisis overseas, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID). In these life and death situations, it is vital that the teams that respond are well trained and self-sufficient with the skills and equipment to respond effectively rather impose a burden on the national system.

Emergency hospital after 2008 Sichuan earthquake

The EMT network is a globally coordinated and verified response system driven by the World Health Organisation (WHO).


Any doctor, nurse or paramedic team coming from another country to practice healthcare in an emergency needs to come as a member of a team. The UK EMT was officially verified by the WHO to respond with a Type 1 (Fixed) or Type 2 field hospital in December 2016.


Drawing from our membership, we recruit and train the clinicians that make up the UK EMT.

Each year we rotate six teams of 60 clinicians who are on-call for a period of two months – ready to deploy within 24 hour’s notice.