Stories | Humanitarian Coalition


The Humanitarian Coalition members are taking care of basic survival needs and helping people rebuild their lives when their homes, schools and livelihoods have been devastated by a disaster. Learn more about these crises and meet people who have benefited from your support.

Harry and Annie Bergshoeff: Everyday Canadians in the heart of humanitarian crises

August 19, 2019

They had been thinking about doing humanitarian work for a long time. In fact, before their careers in management and nursing (respectively), even before their wedding “a long time ago,” Harry and Annie Bergshoeff of Mississauga knew that someday, somehow, they would be giving back.

Interviewing displaced persons in Kasai, DRC

Telling the stories of humanitarian emergencies

August 19, 2019

After starting her professional life in project management in the cultural sector in Montreal, Bouabid left in July 2017 for a mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a communications advisor with Oxfam-Québec.

Children in Mozambique start to recover from Cyclone Idai

August 12, 2019

"First, there were strong winds and a lot of rain, and then the floods came. I was so scared. The water came so fast,” Lusiana, 12, says as she recounts the night Cyclone Idai touched down in Mozambique and destroyed her home.

A refugee mother finds help next door

July 29, 2019

Upon her arrival, Noor searched the refugee camps for her husband, but she could not find him. She says she was very afraid to live alone without him, and feared for the safety of her daughters. As the days went on, she became frustrated as she tried to work out how she would support her family without him.

Help for children in Indonesia after earthquake hit in 2018

Children receive help for trauma after tsunami disaster

July 26, 2019

Selsi lost her best friend when the powerful earthquake and tsunami struck Central Sulawesi in Indonesia. “Wulan was praying near me. I didn’t have time to grab her hand. She was inside the Musholla (prayer room) and I saw the roof collapse. I could run and save my own life, but not Wulan,” says Selsi, unable to hide the sadness in her eyes.

New hope for an old man

July 11, 2019

Morris arrived in Uganda alone as he lost his wife in the war and was separated from his adult children.  After arriving in Palabek settlement with no close relatives to take care of him, he relied on the kindness of his neighbours in the camp to survive.

Mable’s tough year is far from over

April 11, 2019

2019 has been a painful year so far for Mable Nyambalo. The 50-year-old mother of five lost her husband in January. And then in mid-March, her house was destroyed by flooding caused by Cyclone Idai and she lost everything she owned.

Lucky to be alive...sort of

April 11, 2019

“We only learnt that we were in danger when we saw water coming through the door,” said Dimingu Nyoka. “I grabbed my grandchildren and launched them over the falling wall. I also did the same with my wife as she has some problems with her legs.”

Schooling is scarce in flooded Malawi

April 10, 2019

Twelve-year-old Florida hopes to become a nurse one day. She came top in her class last term but now her future hangs in the balance, after floods in the wake of Cyclone Idai crashed into her village in Malawi last month, destroying everything in their path.

Four days in a tree with a newborn baby

April 10, 2019

“All I could think about was saving myself and my baby. I climbed on top of a tree. I spent four days on top of the tree before I saw a boat coming. I was so tired but so happy that help was finally coming.”

2018 at a glance : Together we saved more lives

March 6, 2019

In 2018, the Humanitarian Coalition helped save thousands of people, protected children and women, and gave families the opportunity to rebuild their lives after they had lost everything. Click on the links to read the stories of people whose lives were transformed through the work of the Humanitarian Coalition thanks to the generosity of our donors, the support of the Canadian government, and the impact of leading aid agencies working together.

Water aid in Ethiopia

From sickness to smiles

February 26, 2019

“We are drinking dirty water,” she said. “We want something to purify our water. Our children are getting sick with diarrhea and other diseases.”

Food aid for people affected by cyclones that hit Fiji

Even paradise can get swamped

February 20, 2019

“We were very disheartened,” says Gulnaz Bibi as she recounts the day Tropical Cyclone Keni hit the western side of the beautiful Fiji Island where she lives.

Habiba finally gets relief

February 20, 2019

Habiba has not had an easy life. And every time the 40-year-old mother of 10 overcomes one hardship, it seems like life is waiting to throw another challenge at her. What would it take to give this courageous woman some relief?

Family in Papua New Guinea after earthquake 2018

A young family longs for “normal” after devastating earthquake

February 4, 2019

“Before the earthquake we were happy, and life was normal,” said Jocelyn. “I was four months pregnant when it happened, and I had a one-year-old son. I was so afraid. I grabbed the baby and ran. My first thought was my baby, but I was so relieved to see my husband alive.”

young Lynn Ostergaard

From the race track to the disaster zone: how one man left a legacy

January 29, 2019

He seemed like an ordinary guy. And in many ways, he was. Loyal, modest, “a true gentleman” – his friends and family describe Lynn Ostergaard as a man who downplayed his own colourful career, chose a simple lifestyle, and was attentive to the needs of others.

How collaboration helped Rizky find his family

January 4, 2019

When disaster struck his home, seven-year-old Rizky had no idea what had hit him. He just knew that something terrible had happened and now he was alone.
Maombi, Congo refugee in Uganda

Maombi finds a place to call home

December 13, 2018

Maombi had no place where she felt safe. But because of the generosity of our supporters and partners, Maombi’s life was transformed.

Delivering aid when you've lost your roof

December 3, 2018

On February 13, Mausa was in the eye of Tropical Cyclone Gita – the strongest storm to strike southern Tonga in a generation. The cyclone resulted in two deaths and more than 400 injuries.

Difference between hurricane cyclone typhoon

Crash Course: Tropical Storms 101

November 20, 2018

What’s the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon and a cyclone?

When giving money is a smart investment

November 20, 2018

A flood in southern Nepal in 2017 left Krishna Maya Char and her husband and five children with no grain, no clothes, and nothing to eat.

Typhoon Kai-Tak vs the Captain of the barangay

November 5, 2018

When Kai-Tak bore down on the community of Binohangan, all eyes were on Teresita Delda Rosales, the elected ‘captain of the barangay’ or community chairperson.

Hanging onto hope when the mountain falls

October 30, 2018

Sento managed to climb out of the water and get on dry land, where she found her 4-year old daughter Hannah. She rescued her from the rubble, and they continued the search for her husband, baby and her eldest daughter.

Typhoon Mangkhut

September 17, 2018

Humanitarian Coalition member agencies and their partners are on the ground, monitoring the situation and preparing to respond with life-saving aid.