Headquartered in Singapore, Mercy Relief was established in 2003 to respond to human tragedies and disasters in Asia Pacific.
Today, we are Singapore’s leading independent disaster relief agency with dedicated leadership, capacity building expertise and an affiliate network operating across the entire disaster management cycle.
Mercy Relief provides emergency aid within 72 hours of an appeal in the aftermath of a disaster. Our longer-term sustainable development programmes aim to uplift and empower communities in five key areas: water and sanitation, shelter, sustainable livelihoods, healthcare and education.
For the past 20 years, Mercy Relief has responded to more than 95 disasters with more than $46.1 million disbursed for relief missions and post-disaster projects across 28 countries. We have implemented more than 76 post-disaster projects and impacted over 2.7 million lives.
To provide timely and effective aid when disasters strike, and empower communities in Asia Pacific.
Championing compassion and care
funds disbursed up to 2023
Mercy Relief has provided humanitarian aid in Asia for over a decade. Through the years, we have invested in communities and worked alongside survivors to help them rebuild their lives.
Here are some key events in the history of our organisation since its inception in 2003.
- Mercy Relief is officially launched by then-Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as Singapore’s first independent, non-government charity.
- The first Mercy Relief disaster response team deploys to Bahorok in North Sumatra, Indonesia, which has been hit by devastating flash floods. A four-man team delivers basic necessities to survivors.
- Then-President of Singapore, His Excellency S R Nathan, presents Mercy Relief with the Singapore International Foundation Award in recognition of the goodwill Singapore has demonstrated abroad.
- Mercy Relief’s international programme expands to include sustainable development and risk mitigation projects centering on five key areas: water and sanitation, shelter, healthcare, basic education and sustainable livelihood. Mercy Relief implements its first projects in Indonesia and China, with projects in the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia planned over the following five years.
- Mercy Relief responded to the Aceh Floods by deploying a 4-men medical team to provide 40 water filter systems, medical supplies and assistance to the victims.
- In response to the Jakarta Floods, Mercy Relief, with the help of ARUS, sent close to $67,000 worth of aid supplies to the flood victims.
- UN and Canada’s IDRC invite Mercy Relief to share its reflections and analyses of its experiences on the ground in a book titled “Peacetime Strategies for Disaster Risk Mitigation”. Mercy Relief submits five articles.
- Mercy Relief responded to the Sumatra Earthquake, by supporting evacuation services, distributed food supplies and water to victims of the quake, and partnered with SingHealth to deploy a medical relief team to the region.
- Mercy Relief collaborates with Singapore Polytechnic to launch Singapore’s first dedicated course for training humanitarian aid workers. The Diploma-Plus Certificate Programme in Humanitarian Affairs provides an understanding of how the sector works and promotes civic and social responsibility.
- Mercy Relief launches MOVE, an overseas volunteer expeditions programme, which aims to develop volunteers into regional humanitarians.
- In light of the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, Mercy Relief raised $2.6 million, deployed a disaster response team. camped out in disaster-stricken regions for 5 months, and implemented the Tohoku Livelihood and Recovery program to train individuals to operate heavy machinery.
- Mercy Relief organised a seminar on “Natural Disasters and Humanity” on 21 May 2011, where more than 200 leaders and representatives from various faith, civic and governmental organisations, and diplomats from several embassies attended the Seminar.
- Mercy Relief dispatched 15 water filtration systems and about 30,000 Meals-Ready-to-Eat to the victims of the floods in the Philippines caused by massive floods across Southeast Asia.
- Mercy Relief hosts the President of Singapore, His Excellency Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, at a project site in Magelang, Indonesia, which had been badly hit by the 2010 eruption of Mt. Merapi. It is the first time a Singapore Head of State has visited one of Mercy Relief’s overseas projects.
- Mercy Clan was launched on 5 December 2012, in conjunction with International Volunteer Day, to thank volunteers for their efforts and increase public awareness on their contributions to the organization.
- Mercy Relief is officially appointed one of 10 national Civil Society Organisations (CSO) under the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) – Civil Society Organisation Partnership Framework. This Framework defines the ‘rules of engagement’ between the ACDM and CSOs, and enables CSOs like Mercy Relief to play a bigger role in the delivery of programmes that support disaster risk reduction and management in the region.
- A Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between Mercy Relief and AgPlus, to develop PurHeart, an innovative water solution to support communities affected by disasters and poverty.
- Mercy Relief signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), where it will run a joint undergraduate module on humanitarian affairs and internship placements with Mercy Relief.
- Mercy Relief was acknowledged in the ASEAN Declaration for Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment for its partnership with the government of Brunei Darussalam on the implementation of a regional community service project by ASEAN Young Professionals Volunteer Corps (AYPVC).
- Held in conjunction with UN World Water day, Mercy Relief’s first Water outreach event saw participants participating in a 5-station obstacle course, which aims to raise awareness on the importance of access to clean water in disaster-stricken areas.
- Mercy Relief disburses S$400,000 worth of aid to victims of the Gaza Conflict, by working with the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the Palestinian Wefaq Association
- Mercy Relief collaborates with Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Interactive & Digital Media to launch Code Blue, a game which which aims to educate youths on disaster relief.
- In response to the Nepal Earthquake, Mercy Relief sends its first medical mission and disaster response team to the country, raised $1.5 million in donations, distributed emergency supplies and completed a transitional shelter project, which benefited more than 2550 people in Nepal.
- The first humanitarian run in Singapore was organised by Mercy Relief on 10 October 2015, where it simulates the experiences of a survivor of a natural disaster for the participants.
- Mercy Relief responded to the Myanmar Floods by deploying its first response team to the country, to distribute food supply to flood-stricken communities in Rakhine.
- Mercy Relief appointed its first female Executive Director, Miss Zhang Tingjun, the co-founder and director of The Chain Reaction Project, and a council member for the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.
- Mercy Relief responded to 6 major regional disasters and funded 12 sustainable development projects across 8 countries.
- This past year we developed a whole new look to represent the modernization and direction of our charity yet retained the core values of compassion and care.
- This included a rebranding and upgrade of our infrastructure from technology to office space.
- We even changed the way we report to stakeholders and donors to ensure timeliness and transparency.
- We forged over 14 new partnerships and set a record high of 220 training hours to up skill our team as we prepare for the latest industry challenges.
- Mercy Relief was recognised by the National Council of Social Services (NCSS) as an associate member in light of its programmes and activities that supported the social sector.
- Mercy Relief launched a multi-country relief effort to reach out to survivors in Nepal, India and Bangladesh in response to the South Asia Floods. On the ground, the team provided urgent supplies such as food, clean water and non-food items to nearly 6,000 beneficiaries to date, across the affected communities.
- The humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, Myanmar, has seen close to 900,000 people flee across the border into Bangladesh. Mercy Relief reached out to more than 14,700 refugees in its response phase, with emergency supplies including tents, solar lamps and dignity kits for women in the Bulukhali Makeshift Settlement.
- To commemorate Mercy Relief’s 15th year anniversary, MR organised the Ground Zero Carnival, Singapore’s first humanitarian event to showcase its collective impact over the decade.
- Mercy Relief responded to the Lombok Earthquake where four large earthquakes and at least 1,500 aftershocks had struck the island. The disaster claimed the lives of more than 500 people and injured thousands. To date, over 1,000 households have benefited from the provision of emergency supplies and healthcare services.
- Mercy Relief responded to the Kerala Floods where heavy rains have caused some of the region’s worst flooding in nearly a century, causing almost 400 fatalities and displacing thousands. MR focused its efforts on the distribution of food, clean water supply and hygiene kits, benefitting 500 households to date.
- Mercy Relief responded to the Sulawesi Earthquake that has caused a tsunami and major soil liquefaction which contributed to the devastation. During the relief period, MR provided aid through mobile clinics, supplementary feeding services as well as food and non-food items.
- Mercy Relief responded to the Sunda Strait Tsunami on Christmas Eve to distribute hygiene kits, food and non-food items to the affected communities.
- Mercy Relief received The Straits Times Asian of the Year award in recognition of its humanitarian work in the region.
- In response to Typhoon Hagibis, Mercy Relief sent its disaster response team to the country and distributed emergency hot meals which benefited more than 4930 people in Japan.
- Mercy Relief responded to the 6.9-magnitude earthquake, Davao del Sur that hit the Philippines. Hundreds are injured and 23 fatalities were reported due to the earthquake, which also displaced over 349,000 people. To date, over 2066 individuals have benefited from the provision of emergency hot meals.
- Mercy Relief responded to the Cotabato Earthquakes where a swarm of earthquakes struck the province of Cotabato on the island of Mindanao. Hot meals were distributed to 1904 individuals affected by the disaster.
- Typhoon Kammuri slammed into the Philippines in Dec 2019, bringing heavy rains and gale-force winds as it tore across the main island of Luzon affected 2,361,000 lives. To date, over 7184 individuals have benefited from the provision of emergency hot meals that were distributed by Mercy Relief.
- Mercy Relief responded to the Typhoon Phanfone where caused severe floods and destroyed homes in several provinces. The typhoon killed 50, stranded thousands and affected 3,271,500 lives. MR focused its efforts on the distribution of hot meals benefitting 2320 individuals to date.
- This past year we have also changed the look, feel & frequency of our impact reports to donors and stakeholders to ensure clarity, timeliness and transparency.
- In July 2019, Mercy Relief appointed Ms Carol Lee as its Executive Director.
- In response to the flooding in Jakarta, Mercy Relief responded to the emergency by providing hot meals and clean water to the affected communities. Hygiene kits and solar lamps were also distributed to ensure that the survivors are equipped with the basic necessities. The efforts have since reached 8,286 people in collaboration with our ground partner, Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT).
- In response to the outbreak of Covid-19 in the region, Mercy Relief organised relief efforts to aid the affected communities:
– Nepal: Mercy Relief distributed non-perishable food items in five districts, benefiting 10,979 individuals. Medication and lab tests were also provided to 80 elderly to meet their medical needs during lockdown, while personal protective gears and boots were given to 45 waste workers to ensure their safety at work.
– India: Mercy Relief distributed family kits containing daily essentials, non-perishable food items and hygiene support in 12 villages, benefitting 6000 individuals. We also increased public awareness on COVID-19 prevention measures that benefited 1000 households.
– Indonesia: Mercy Relief distributed hygiene kits to 10 villages, benefiting 577 households in Bogor & Banten Regency. We also set up hand washing stations and clean water tanks for 460 households and disinfected transitional shelters and evacuation sites in 5 villages, benefiting 388 households. Mercy Relief also distributed food packages to 500 households of person with disabilities in 9 regencies in East Java and 10 swab booths to hospitals in South Sulawesi.
- In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mercy Relief’s annual Ground Zero Run was held virtually in 2020. From 6-27 September, 575 participants could decide where to run their own running routes and whether to split up their chosen distance or complete it all at once. Similar to the Ground Zero Runs in previous years, runners were encouraged to simulate the experience of a survivor’s journey of collecting urgent supplies in the aftermath of a natural disaster by running with a 5kg weight in the form of a rice pack, water bottles or training weights. More than $270,000 was raised for this inaugural virtual event.
- Mercy Relief responded to the torrential floods and storm surges in Vietnam & the Philippines on 11th November 2020. Mercy Relief worked with our ground partners, Center for Conservation and Development of Water Resources (WARECOD) in Vietnam & Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) in the Philippines, to provide the emergency relief aid of food packs, clean water, hygiene kits, blankets and tarpaulin to the affected communities. A total of 1222 relief packs were distributed, benefiting 4472 individuals to date.
- Mercy Relief launched our first-ever “Gift of Giving” Campaign on 16 November 2020. “Gift of Giving” is a virtual fund-raising campaign inspired by the season of giving. The campaign explores the meaning of giving among our stakeholders and encourages the spirit of giving within the community. This campaign raised more than $32,000.
- Due to the persistance of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mercy Relief continued to render aid and assistance to vulnerable communities the Philippines. Together with ground partners Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC), beneficiaries in the Western Visayas region received relief packs containing food items and hygiene kits.
- Mercy Relief’s annual Ground Zero race was held virtually for the second year in 2021. Riding on the growing interest towards cycling, a new Bike category was introduced, giving the event a new spin. From 12 October to 12 November, 369 participants cycled and ran at their own time, own place and own pace to complete their chosen distance. Altogether, our participants covered more than 20,000km over the month-long event. Similar to the Ground Zero Runs in previous years, runners were encouraged to simulate the experience of a survivor’s journey of collecting urgent supplies in the aftermath of a natural disaster by running with a 5kg weight in the form of a rice pack, water bottles or training weights. The event was supported by more than 20 sponsors.
- The second iteration of the year-end Gift of Giving campaign was organised to encourage the spirit of giving amongst the community. Collaborations from The Charity Home Bakers (TCHB) and How Light Falls saw the sale of baked items and greeting cards to raise funds. Through the campaign, Mercy Relief donated more than 30 boxes of baked goods, made with love by TCHB, to migrant worker beneficiaries under NGO Hope Initiative Alliance. These boxes were sponsored generously by public donors. The campaign also enjoyed the partnership of other sponsors who donated prizes for our giveaways.
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