12 March 2024

Caption: This image demonstrates the colossal damage inflicted upon Suran (North-West Syria), following the devastating series of earthquakes that hit Türkiye and Syria.


Emergency responses are critical endeavours aimed at mitigating the most immediate impacts of crises on communities around the world. From natural to human-made disasters, these initiatives are lifelines for those facing such tragedies.

In this article, we navigate the philosophical underpinnings driving Mercy Hands Europe’s emergency response initiatives. Beyond mere practicality, our organisation’s ethos underscores the dignity and inherent value of every human life, promoting compassion, solidarity, and resilience in the face of adversity. We then explore the diverse array of emergency responses undertaken by Mercy Hands Europe.

Through this article, you will gain insight into the profound significance of emergency responses and Mercy Hands Europe’s unwavering commitment to serving humanity’s most vulnerable.

Caption: This image shows the first aid delivery sent to Gaza as part of the “HEART Operation for Gaza” emergency initiative. It included 200 boxes of water, 22 packages of baby diapers, and 69 packages of sanitary pads.

Upholding Human Dignity: Mercy Hands Europe’s Philosophy Driving Emergency Responses

After two devastating World Wars, which left an indelible stain on humanity’s history and moral conscience, the global community united in the conviction that such atrocities must never recur. This collective resolve culminated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), crafted and adopted by the newly formed United Nations on 10 December 1948, in response to egregious violations that “outraged the conscience of mankind” (UDHR Preamble).

Central to the UDHR is the profound recognition of the inherent dignity and equal, inalienable rights of all members of the human family. Indeed, the first sentence of the Preamble underscores this principle, stating that this recognition constitutes “the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world” (UDHR Preamble). Similarly, the opening Article of the UDHR unequivocally declares the inherent freedom and equality in dignity and rights of every human being. 

It is significant to note that human dignity precedes human rights; it is the bedrock upon which all other rights rest, safeguarding the inherent worth and value of every individual. In other words, the conceptual essence of human rights is to protect the dignity of humanity. Mercy Hands Europe fervently upholds the belief in the absolute dignity of every human being. Consequently, our engagement in emergency responses naturally springs from this belief, refusing to stand idly by with crossed hands in times of tribulation.

Human dignity is often purposefully trampled upon in times of armed conflicts, which are unfortunately becoming increasingly frequent worldwide. It is in these moments of crises that Mercy Hands Europe stands resolute, championing the dignity and rights of those enduring unimaginable hardship. Through our humanitarian efforts, we strive to provide essential aid that meets immediate needs, while preserving the dignity of those vulnerable communities and individuals. Furthermore, we are committed to reminding human rights violators, and occasionally the indolent world, of the inherent dignity of every individual through advocacy campaigns. But most importantly, we aim to rekindle a sense of value and self-worth among those who have been marginalised and oppressed, reaffirming their significance and reminding them that they matter, and that despite the atrocities they endure, the world sees their suffering,  values them and stands with them.

As for natural disasters, while there may not be deliberate violations of human rights, the very circumstances often strip individuals of their essential rights, placing their dignity in jeopardy. It is this recognition that motivates us to mobilise swiftly and decisively, aiming to prevent the deprivation and endangerment of human dignity amidst such crises.

Caption: This picture depicts our effort to provide relief items to Ukrainians as part of the “Ukraine Mission” emergency response.

Mercy Hands Europe’s Emergency Initiatives

Mercy Hands Europe strives to respond to as many emergency calls as feasible, always mindful of its operational capacities. Here, we proudly present a glimpse of our recent emergency response initiatives.

  1. Ukraine Mission

Responding to the crisis in Ukraine, Mercy Hands Europe established in 2022 the “Alliance for Ukraine”, partnering with Mercy Hands America and Grace Initiative Global. This alliance led the emergency “Ukraine Mission” aimed at addressing pressing needs by providing relief items to 250 Ukrainians in the first couple of months of the armed conflict in Ukraine. Through daily assessments, emergency appeal kits were distributed to areas lacking resources.

As a follow-up to this humanitarian effort, Mercy Hands Europe launched the “Ukrainians’ Resilience through Psychotherapy, Music, Sport, and Games” project. This initiative targeted 20 Ukrainian refugee children and 4 Georgian children in Tbilisi, Georgia. Through psychotherapy sessions, music, sports, and games, the project aimed to alleviate PTSD and other mental health challenges while promoting resilience and well-being among the participants.

  1. Earthquake in Türkiye

In response to the series of devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Northern Syria on 6 February 2023 that, within minutes, took the lives of at least 47,000 people and displaced millions, Mercy Hands Europe initiated the “Earthquake in Türkiye” emergency response. Launched in Suran (Azaz district, Syria) during February and March 2023, the project aimed to support local communities and internally displaced persons (IDPs) households. Through cash-based interventions, 43 families were identified as beneficiaries. Each family received cash assistance to cover urgent needs, including food items, non-food items, and clothing.

  1. The HEART Operation for Gaza

The HEART Operation for Gaza is an ongoing emergency response led by the Mercy Hands Alliance, comprising Mercy Hands Europe, Mercy Hands America, and Mercy Hands Organization. This emergency response was initiated in the wake of the armed conflict taking place in Gaza since 7 October 2023, and has since been delivering crucial humanitarian aid to as many civilians as possible. The first delivery consisted of 200 boxes of clean water, 22 packages of baby diapers, and 69 packages of sanitary pads. The second delivery, consisting of 28,000 bottles of water, is yet to be distributed. It will be handed over to the Palestine Red Crescent, which will then distribute it to Gazan civilians who have been displaced and are seeking shelter in UNRWA schools. Through these efforts and social media advocacy, we aim to alleviate the suffering endured by Gazan civilians, and we are tirelessly dedicated to increasing the provision of humanitarian aid to support them further.

Caption: This image illustrates our involvement in the “Earthquake in Türkiye” emergency initiative through cash-based interventions, aimed at assisting beneficiaries with urgent needs.


In the face of adversity, Mercy Hands Europe’s emergency initiatives stand as a testament to the power of compassion and solidarity. From the streets of Ukraine to the shores of Gaza, passing through the rural areas of Northwest Syria, our resolute commitment to upholding human dignity has brought relief and resilience to countless lives. Through practical aid, advocacy, and fervent support, we continue to embody the spirit of humanitarianism, offering hope amidst hardship. 

To conclude, may our endeavours serve as a rallying cry for global solidarity, urging humanity to stand shoulder to shoulder with the vulnerable.

Caption: This picture shows the second delivery of help to people in Gaza as part of the “HEART Operation for Gaza” emergency initiative, which included 28,000 bottles of water.

Johnny Hobeika

Consultant at Mercy Hands Europe