Worldwide, there are millions of people suffering in humanitarian crises. Many of these people are in urgent need of international assistance to survive. Most of these people suffer hidden from the eyes of the world public. A record 339 million people will require humanitarian assistance and protection in 2023 - a significant increase from 274 million people at the start of 2022.
DONARE would like to draw your attention to some of the world's worst humanitarian crises. You will find concise profiles of humanitarian emergencies around the world on the following pages. The profiles include background information, summaries of the current humanitarian and security situation, and links to earmarked appeals for donations from United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organizations focusing on emergency relief.
The Syrian conflict is one of the largest and most complex humanitarian crises worldwide. The crisis continues to cause tremendous human suffering to people both inside and outside the country. Since 2011 hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed and maimed, and millions have been forced to flee. People in Syria have been subject to massive and systematic violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. While continuing conflict in some parts of the country, record highs of food prices, an economic crisis, ongoing displacement, climatic shocks and disease continue to exacerbate humanitarian needs, more than two thirds of the Syrian population are in need of assistance.
The overall humanitarian situation in Ethiopia has deteriorated significantly in 2022. Millions of Ethiopians remain displaced by conflict, insecurity, and climate-related shocks such as the ongoing drought. Ethiopia faces multiple causes of instability. Years of drought and conflict have left millions of Ethiopians without enough to eat. Many people have no water, medicine, food or shelter and fear for their lives.
Within weeks, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has created one of the largest humanitarian disasters globally. By March 2023, more than 22,000 civilians were recorded killed or wounded as a result of the war. Violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law occurring in the course of the ongoing armed attack are widespread. Millions of civilians fear for their lives. People in Ukraine continue to be killed, wounded and deeply traumatized by the violence. Civilian infrastructure on which they depend continues to be destroyed or damaged.
People in Somalia are facing one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world. The crisis is driven by conflict, food insecurity, political instability, climatic shocks and economic decline. Even worse, the humanitarian crisis in Somalia continues to deteriorate. A devastating drought in the country has reached unprecedented levels this year. Five consecutive rainy seasons have failed, the longest and most severe drought in Somalia’s recent history.
More than eight years of armed conflict in Yemen have caused tens of thousands of civilian casualties and forced millions to flee their homes, making Yemen one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises, for many still the world‘s worst humanitarian crisis. More than 11,000 children have been killed or maimed since the beginning of the conflict, and thousands more have been recruited as child soldiers. The war in Yemen turned a formerly poor country into a humanitarian catastrophe.
The Sahel region is facing on of the fastest-growing humanitarian crises in the world. And at the same time, it is one of the most forgotten. Armed conflict, deteriorating security, political instability, and widespread poverty are the main drivers of unprecedented humanitarian needs, particularly in the central Sahel region, which includes the countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. This deteriorating humanitarian emergency is further compounded by the impact of the climate crisis and global food insecurity. Rapid climate changes are causing natural disasters to occur with increasing frequency and severity.
More than 18 months after the fall of Kabul, Afghanistan remains in the grips of one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. Millions in Afghanistan are experiencing misery and hunger amid decades of conflict. The cumulative effects of violent conflict, internal displacement, drought and other natural disasters have drastically increased humanitarian needs throughout Afghanistan. The country is prone to natural disasters, including floods and earthquakes.
South Sudan Crisis
South Sudan is in the midst of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis driven by years of brutal civil war. Nearly 400,000 South Sudanese died as a result of the conflict that began in December 2013. Atrocities and attacks on civilians, including widespread sexual violence, defined the civil war. More than half of South Sudan’s population are facing extreme hunger and are in need of urgent humanitarian aid. Extensive flooding, violence and disease outbreak continue to impact people across the country.
In Haiti, millions of people need humanitarian aid to fight hunger. The country has a long history of natural disasters and remains highly vulnerable to hurricanes, earthquakes and floods. In January 2010, Haiti was hit by a major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0. It is estimated that more than 300,000 people died and about 1.5 million were left homeless. The earthquake was rated as the worst in the region in the last 200 years. On 14 August 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Haiti, killing more than 2,200 people, affecting over 800,000 people and causing widespread destruction.
Crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are suffering one of the most complex and protracted humanitarian crises. The DRC is at the same time facing one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world, and the situation in the country is one of the most neglected displacement crises globally. For decades, the country has endured multiple, overlapping crises driven mainly by conflict and forced displacement; both have devastating consequences.
Myanmar faces multiple overlapping humanitarian needs caused by genocide, persecution, protracted armed conflicts, inter-communal violence and natural disasters. Humanitarian needs in Myanmar have continued to grow due to ongoing armed violence and political unrest since the military coup in February 2021. Myanmar is also one of the most vulnerable countries in South East Asia to natural disasters, facing numerous hazards such as floods, cyclones, and earthquakes.
Due to the complex crisis in Sudan, a third of the country’s population are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2023. The growing humanitarian needs in Sudan are driven by political instability following the military takeover on October 25, 2021, a socioeconomic crisis, insecurity and violence, displacements, floods, drought and disease outbreaks. About 349,000 people were affected by recent torrential rains and flash floods across Sudan.
Central African Republic Crisis
The Central African Republic (CAR) has been among the most neglected humanitarian crises for several years in a row. The CAR has been troubled by violent unrest since 2012. In 2021 and 2022 the Central African Republic saw over 100,000 new displacements, bringing the total displaced population to nearly 1.4 million people, with over 737,000 refugees fleeing to neighboring countries and over 660,000 people displaced inside the country.
Six years after the peace accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was signed, the humanitarian situation in Colombia is still marked by large scale internal displacement and insecurity due to armed violence. The country has endured half a century of intense armed conflict, perpetuated by widespread illegal drug production and trafficking and rooted in territorial control by armed groups. The increased impact of natural hazards related to climate change and the integration of 2.5 million Venezuelan refugees are also driving humanitarian needs in Colombia.
The overall humanitarian situation in Burundi remains tense and serious human rights violations continue. Burundians are facing a humanitarian crisis characterized by food insecurity, violence, natural hazards and economic decline. The people of Burundi experience a triple burden: high climate risk, widespread poverty and conflict. Even though the worst of the violence has subsided in 2023, the security situation remains precarious, with an unstable political situation and ongoing displacement outside the country.
Political turmoil and socioeconomic decline in Venezuela have led to the worst humanitarian crisis in South America and one of the largest migration crises in the world. Venezuela is experiencing a political and economic crisis marked by hyperinflation, limited food availability, medicine shortages, violent crime, and human right violations. Since 2014, more than six million Venezuelans have fled to Latin American and Caribbean countries. In 2023, 7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the South American country.
The humanitarian crisis in Mozambique's northern province of Cabo Delgado continues to deteriorate. Escalating violence has displaced nearly one million people. At least two million people in Cabo Delgado and neighboring Niassa and Nampula provinces are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. Mozambique is also susceptible to climate shocks and frequent natural hazards such as drought, floods and tropical storms.
Since late 2019, Lebanon has been facing a complex humanitarian crisis due to several large socioeconomic shocks, ongoing political instability, and the steep deterioration of the economy. Hyperinflation, the depreciation of the Lebanese Pound (LBP), and lack of livelihood opportunities have exacerbated poverty and fueled hunger. Lebanon remains the world’s biggest refugee-hosting country per capita.
Central America Crisis
The North of Central America (NCA) – also called the Northern Triangle of Central America (NTCA) – is a sub-region comprising El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and one of the most dangerous places on earth. Nicaragua is bordering the Northern Triangle. Gang violence, threats, extortion, persecution and sexual violence have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes in search of safety. More than 1.1 million people from Central America have been uprooted from their homes while some 3.6 million people across El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras face acute hunger.
The overall humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is marked by a protracted political crisis characterized by 55 years of Israeli military occupation. The humanitarian crisis is aggravated by violence against civilians, lack of respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, internal Palestinian divisions and the recurrent escalation of hostilities between Israeli security forces and Palestinian armed groups. Millions of Palestinians struggle to meet their most basic needs and live in dignity.
The world is plagued by further humanitarian crises that should neither be forgotten nor neglected. The emergency situations include: the crisis in southern Turkey and northern Syria following the devastating earthquakes of early February 2023; the crisis in Pakistan following the record floods of 2022; the crisis in Kenya following the longest and most severe drought on record; the crisis in Madagascar due to ongoing food insecurity and vulnerability to climate-related disasters; and the crisis in Malawi due to the deadliest cholera outbreak in the country’s history.