Mercy Corps to join UK’s disaster aid

A GLOBAL aid agency headquartered in Scotland is to take its place in the vanguard of a new UK rapid response initiative for international disasters.

Mercy Corps, a charity that has helped millions of people around the world escape conflict and poverty over the past three decades, has been selected to play a key role in the UK government’s Rapid Reponse Facility.

The scheme is designed to cut down on the red tape that often hampers the work of humanitarian bodies during crises and will allow Mercy Corps access to affected countries within 72 hours of events such as earthquakes.

The organisation, which has its European headquarters in Edinburgh and has responded to numerous disasters around the world since 1979, said the new arrangements would have a “game-changing” impact on its ability to deliver aid and free up its staff from paperwork and sourcing funding.

Details of the new rapid response network were unveiled by International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, who said: “Mercy Corps plays a critical role in the UK’s life-saving work to help people struck by disaster. We need our best experts, equipment and aid on the ground as quickly as possible after a disaster, not tied up in red tape.”