Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF)

The Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) is the quickest, most efficient and most transparent way of getting funding directly to local humanitarian actors—both before and immediately after a crisis hits.

Every year, small and medium-sized disasters occur in silence. Without media attention or international visibility, they can struggle to attract funding—putting affected communities at risk of being completely neglected.

To support these smaller disasters, or to provide initial funding before launching an Emergency Appeal, we rapidly channel funding to Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies through the DREF—enabling them to deliver fast and effective local humanitarian action.

Watch: What is the DREF?

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How does it work?

The DREF is a central pot of money through which we can release funds rapidly to National Societies for early action and immediate disaster response.

How is it funded?

The IFRC runs an annual DREF appeal to maintain the balance of funds required to meet National Society demand.

Forecast-based Action

Launched in 2018, the Forecast-based Action component of the DREF enables National Societies to take early action before a disaster strikes.

Live DREF data

Further DREF guidance and support for National Societies

Fiji Red Cross and IFRC teams in Fiji assemble to assess damage caused by Cyclone Yasa in December 2020

Fiji Red Cross and IFRC teams in Fiji assemble to assess damage caused by Cyclone Yasa in December 2020

Photo: IFRC/Ponipate

We want to make sure that each of our 192 National Societies knows how to request, has the capacity to process and knows how to report on DREF funding. We have therefore developed an introduction to DREF eLearning course.

Available in English, French, Arabic and Spanish, the course provides participants with an overview of what the DREF is, how to request an allocation, and how to ensure proper reporting and learning.

We are also developing a range of practical DREF tools and resources to promote a culture of operational learning across our global network. If you are from a National Society and would like to access these resources, please contact Marco Vargas (Delegate, DREF Capacity Strengthening).

Other documents from the DREF Toolkit, such as checklists for food insecurity and epidemic outbreaks, are available here.