Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Humanitarian’ Category

Global Humanitarian Overview 2020


Recent trends and challenges
In 2019, many more people needed humanitarian assistance than we had forecast, largely because of conflicts and extreme climate events. Donors provided a record $16 billion for inter-agency appeals between January and November 2019.

Compliance with international law is declining. Armed conflicts are killing and maiming a record number of children, forcing them to flee their homes. They are becoming a lost generation. Women and girls are at higher risk of sexual and gender-based violence. One in five people living in conflict areas has a mental health condition.

Highly violent conflicts are causing widespread hunger, displacement, death and destruction around the world. They are taking a heavy toll on civilians, who account for 90 per cent of the casualties when explosive weapons are used in populated areas.

There were 791 attacks against health workers and health-care facilities in the first nine months of 2019, resulting in 171 deaths. In 2018, 131 aid workers were killed and 130 were kidnapped in 400 attacks. Attacks against health and aid workers are putting millions of people at risk by denying them care and aid.

Emerging trends and risks
Climate change is increasing people’s vulnerability to humanitarian crises. The world’s eight worst food crises are all linked to both conflict and climate shocks.

Infectious diseases are becoming more prevalent and harder to control, because of conflict, weak health systems, poor water and sanitation, and lack of access to vaccinations.

In 2019, 33 low-income countries were in, or at risk of, debt distress. Of these, 12 countries with humanitarian appeals are home to 40 per cent of the people in need of humanitarian assistance. A global economic slowdown could further increase vulnerability in countries already experiencing economic stress and debt problems.

Humanitarian needs and requirements
In 2020, nearly 168 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. This represents one in about 45 people in the world, and is the highest figure in decades. The United Nations and partner organizations aim to assist nearly 109 million of the most vulnerable people. This will require funding of $28.8 billion.

The situation will keep getting worse unless climate change and the root causes of conflict are better addressed. On current trends, projections show that more than 200 million people could be in need of assistance by 2022.

The humanitarian system is more effective better prioritized, more innovative and more inclusive than ever. In the first nine months of 2019, humanitarian organizations reached 64 per cent of people targeted to receive aid through Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs).

Globally, at the start of 2019 some 821 million people were undernourished, including 113 million who suffered from acute hunger. Conflict is the key driver of hunger. By the beginning of 2019, armed conflicts and persecution had driven a record number of nearly 71 million people from their homes.

Regional and country overview
Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and the number of people in need is expected to remain close to 2019 levels of 24 million, almost 80 per cent of the population. The humanitarian response in Yemen is also the world’s largest, despite huge challenges.

The conflict in Syria continues to drive the world’s largest refugee crisis, with 5.6 million refugees in the region. In addition, more than 6 million Syrians are internally displaced.

Humanitarian needs will also remain exceptionally high in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and South Sudan.

In Sudan, a deepening economic crisis has significantly increased food insecurity and weakened essential services, including health, water and education. The new civilian authorities need more international support.

In the Sahel, displacement has dramatically increased, and hunger has reached critical levels. In the Lake Chad Basin, the humanitarian crisis shows no signs of abating as it enters its seventh year.

The needs have also grown significantly in several other countries, including Afghanistan, where almost one quarter of the population is likely to need humanitarian assistance following years of violent conflict, as well as severe drought.

In Venezuela, a deepening economic crisis has led to a severe reduction in the income of many households and a sharp deterioration in water, power and health services, prompting many to leave.

A deepening political and socioeconomic crisis has also significantly increased needs in Haiti, with 4.2 million people expected to be food insecure by March 2020.

More people-centred humanitarian action We are getting better at addressing the needs of women and girls, and people with disabilities. We are strengthening efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence.

We are working better together to deliver cash, which can often meet more needs, more efficiently.

We are also strengthening collaboration between humanitarian and development organizations.

Innovative humanitarian financing
Humanitarian organizations have a better understanding of what is needed most urgently, and by whom. In 2019, anticipatory finance enabled early action in several crises, and risk insurance provided speedy payouts to support rapid response.

The value of timely and strategic pooled funds was again clearly demonstrated. As of mid-November 2019, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) had allocated more than $494 million to support urgent needs in 47 countries and territories, while Country-Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) had allocated $701 million in 18 countries.

All about chars…..


“……Chars are low-lying, temporary sand islands that are continuously formed and destroyed through silt deposition and erosion. They’re home to over six million people, who face repeated displacement from flooding and erosion — which may be getting worse because of climate change — and a range of health risks, including malnutrition, malaria, chronic diarrhea and other water-borne diseases.…..”

J-IDEA, the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics will rapidly respond to emergencies such as epidemics, extreme climate events, and natural and humanitarian disasters.

Imperial College

“…..J-IDEA will tackle crises, such as Ebola and MERS, alongside longer-term global priorities, including the impact of climate change on health, using cutting-edge data science and public health research to deliver policy insights.

The new institute brings together the world’s foremost epidemiologists, biostatisticians, medics and data scientists as they break down barriers between academic expertise and on-the-ground impact. ….”


“……J-IDEA brings together over 200 researchers working on global health within Imperial College’s School of Public Health. Partnering with governments and international institutions, J-IDEA advances methods and real-world application of data analytics to identify and support effective actions and high priority investments into population health globally – both in responding to crises but also in identifying the cross-cutting investments which will build strong and resilient health systems better able to meet future health challenges and threats…..”

Syria: Health sector response, 8/2019


United States officials calls on all nations to stop using Cuba’s medical missions, which send doctors around the world, saying that Cuba refused to pay the medical staff and held them against their will.

Thomson Reuters

“……The Caribbean island nation has a respected health service and generates major export earnings by sending more than 50,000 health workers to more than 60 countries.

But it came under criticism in Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro last year called the Cuban doctors “slave labor” and Cuba recalled its 8,300 medical workers stationed there.

Ramona Matos, a Cuban doctor, said she worked with medical missions in Bolivia and Brazil where Cuban security agents took away the doctors’ passports and other identification.

“We were undocumented,” she said at the State Department’s news conference. “If anything happened to us, we got hurt, we died … nobody would know our identity.”

Nearly all of the doctors’ earnings were sent back to Cuba where they were frozen in accounts that they could not access until they completed their missions, she said.

“We were basically being trafficked, and we were victims and exploited by the Cuban government,” she said……”

A UN report on Yemen released on Tuesday details a host of possible war crimes committed by various parties to the conflict over the past five years, including through airstrikes, indiscriminate shelling, snipers, landmines, as well as arbitrary killings and detention, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and the impeding of access to humanitarian aid in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

GENEVA (3 September 2019) – A UN report on Yemen released on Tuesday details a host of possible war crimes committed by various parties to the conflict over the past five years, including through airstrikes, indiscriminate shelling, snipers, landmines, as well as arbitrary killings and detention, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and the impeding of access to humanitarian aid in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

The Group of International and Regional Eminent Experts on Yemen, created by the UN Human Rights Council, found that the governments of Yemen and the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as well as the Houthis and affiliated popular committees have enjoyed a “pervasive lack of accountability” for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

The report calls for the immediate cessation of all acts of violence committed against civilians in violation of applicable international human rights and international humanitarian law, and demands that the parties take action to protect civilians and ensure justice for all victims.

It urges other States to refrain from providing arms that could be used in the conflict, and reminds them of their obligation to take all reasonable measures to ensure respect for international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict.

“Five years into the conflict, violations against Yemeni civilians continue unabated, with total disregard for the plight of the people and a lack of international action to hold parties to the conflict accountable,” said Mr. Kamel Jendoubi, chairperson of the Group of Experts on Yemen.

“The international community must multiply its efforts to free the Yemeni people from the persistent injustice they have been enduring.”

Despite a lack of cooperation by the Coalition and Government of Yemen, the Group of Experts was able during the short time available this year to conduct more than 600 interviews with victims and witnesses, to examine documentary and open-source material,  and to carry out investigations into emblematic cases to establish patterns of conduct indicative of alleged violations in Yemen since September 2014.

The Experts found reasonable grounds to believe that the conduct of hostilities by the parties to the conflict, including by airstrikes and shelling, continued to have an extreme impact on civilians and many of these attacks may amount to serious violations of international humanitarian law. The Experts further found reasonable grounds to believe that, in addition to violations related to the conduct of hostilities, the parties to the armed conflict in Yemen are responsible for arbitrary deprivation of the right to life, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, sexual violence, torture, ill-treatment, child recruitment, violations of fundamental freedoms, and violations of economic, social and cultural rights. These amount to violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as applicable. Subject to determination by an independent and competent court, many of these violations may result in individuals being held responsible for war crimes.

The Group of Experts has identified, where possible, individuals who may be responsible for international crimes, and an updated confidential list of individuals has been submitted to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Where identification of individuals was not possible, the Experts have identified the group responsible.

“This endemic  impunity – for violations and abuses by all parties to the conflict – cannot be tolerated anymore. Impartial and independent inquiries must be empowered to hold accountable those who disrespect the rights of the Yemeni people. The international community must stop turning a blind eye to these violations and the intolerable humanitarian situation,” said Jendoubi.

The Group of Experts attributed direct responsibility to the parties to the conflict regarding the humanitarian situation in Yemen. The continued extreme impact of attacks against civilian infrastructure such as hospitals, water facilities, food transport, farms and market places, as well as the use of blockades and siege-like warfare, impeding humanitarian access, and other such measures have exacerbated the disastrous humanitarian situation.

“The inhumane deprivation of the Yemeni population of their rights to medicine, water and food should stop immediately. The very survival of the 24 million in need should be the first priority”, added Jendoubi.

The Group expressed strong concern that the parties to the conflict may have used starvation as a method of warfare, as these acts contributed to depriving the population of objects indispensable to its survival.

The Experts’ report calls on all States and international organizations to promote and support all efforts, notably those of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen to achieve a sustainable political solution including accountability.

The report urges the Human Rights Council to ensure that the situation of human rights in Yemen remains on the Council’s agenda by renewing the mandate of the Group of Experts and further suggests that the Council request the Group to continue to report to it periodically. The Group of Experts further suggested that the Council strengthen its mandate to combat impunity by requesting it to collect and preserve evidence of alleged violations.


For the full report, please go to:
In English:

About the Group of International and Regional Eminent Experts on Yemen 

In its resolution 36/31 in September 2017, the Human Rights Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish a group of eminent international and regional experts on Yemen to monitor and report on the situation of human rights. The  Group of Experts was mandated to carry out a comprehensive examination of all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights and other appropriate and applicable fields of international law committed by all parties to the conflict since September 2014, including the possible gender dimensions of such violations, and to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged violations and abuses and, where possible, to identify those responsible.

On 4 December 2017, the High Commissioner established the Group of Independent Eminent International and Regional Experts, appointing Mr. Kamel Jendoubi (Tunisia) as Chairperson, and Mr. Charles Garraway (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), and Ms. Melissa Parke (Australia) as experts. Following the submission of the first report of the group to the 39th session of the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/39/43) in September 2018, resolution 39/16 renewed the mandate of the Group for further year, requesting a second report at its 42nd session in September 2019.

Squalid Conditions at our Southern Border



The humanitarian crisis in Yemen continues


“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said….that essential services in Yemen are on the verge of total collapse as the war enters its fifth year. It added that only 51 per cent of the country’s health facilities are still working in full, although they suffer from a severe shortage of medicines, equipment and staff.

“As the conflict in Yemen enters its fifth year, the salaries of more than 1.25 million government employees, including doctors, social workers and other public sector workers, have been suspended for more than two and a half years” the organization said in a report, explaining that the suspension has led to the closure or reduction of working hours of vital facilities such as health facilities, schools, water and sanitation facilities and other essential social services…..”

Sahel: Humanitarian Emergency


“…..UN aid agencies and NGOs warned today that surging armed violence in the Sahel has propelled forced displacement and humanitarian emergency to unprecedented levels. They called for stepped-up support and greater efforts to address the causes of the region’s crises.

In the past year, around 1 million people had to flee their homes due to insecurity and violence. In Burkina Faso, Mali and western Niger displacement has increased five-fold, and the Lake Chad Basin is witnessing a new spike in displacement and attacks. Across the Sahel, 4.2 million people are uprooted…..”



Dakar, 27 June 2019 – UN aid agencies and NGOs warned today that surging armed violence in the Sahel has propelled forced displacement and humanitarian emergency to unprecedented levels. They called for stepped-up support and greater efforts to address the causes of the region’s crises.     In the past year, around 1 million people had to flee their homes due to insecurity and violence. In Burkina Faso, Mali and western Niger displacement has increased five-fold, and the Lake Chad Basin is witnessing a new spike in displacement and attacks. Across the Sahel, 4.2 million people are uprooted.

“The impact of the crisis, in one of the world’s most vulnerable regions, is dramatic. The extent and intensity of the attacks have left communities suffering untold devastation,” said Chris Nikoi, Regional Director of the World Food Programme. “Millions of people have yet to recover from last year’s food and nutrition crisis. With the lean season underway, we must provide quick and sustained help to save lives and avert a deeper crisis.”

The violence is disrupting livelihoods and deepening the impact of chronic vulnerabilities such as food insecurity, malnutrition and epidemics in affected communities in Burkina Faso, Cameroon (Far North), Chad, Mali, Niger and north-east Nigeria. More than 7 million people are struggling with food insecurity. Malnutrition is threatening the lives of 5 million children. Education has been significantly hit, with more than 4,000 schools closed or not functional and 900,000 pupils affected.

“With armed violence comes destitution and deprivation. We must safeguard the dignity of people affected by conflict and ensure their protection from threats, exploitation and abuse,” said Liz Ahua, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Regional Representative for West Africa. “Beyond the humanitarian response, the Sahel needs support to tackle the root causes of the recurrent crises besetting the region. Crucially, the Sahel needs more robust investment in public services, infrastructure and economic development to bring about lasting solutions for all its people.”

Although conflict and its devastating impact have plagued the Sahel for many years, insecurity has never spread so fast, in such vast areas and affected as many people. The risk of spill-over beyond the Sahel and into coastal countries is growing.

“Humanitarian access continues to be under threat. Insecurity and restrictions imposed during military operations hinder the delivery of aid. Faced with these difficulties, we must insist on humanitarian principles. We are there to stay and assist the affected communities wherever they are,” said Marianne Irion, Regional Director of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

“If we want to reverse the trend in the Sahel, the security-centric focus must change,” said Mamadou Diop, Regional Director of Action Contre la Faim. “We must ensure people’s access to basic services, especially in the conflict-affected areas, where needs are outpacing available resources. And we need flexible funding to build resilience and address the root causes of the crises.”

The humanitarian community has requested for US$ 2.4 billion to assist 15.3

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen continues…..Yemen Snapshots: 2015-2019


Crisis In Yemen : Document 2019



“…….The Scale of the Conflict:

  • ACLED (Armed Conflict Location & Event Data) records over 91,600 total reported fatalities from the start of 2015 to the present
    • Approximately 17,100 were reported in 2015; 15,100 in 2016; 16,800 in 2017; 30,800 in 2018; and 11,900 in 2019 thus far
  • More than 39,700 conflict events have been reported since the start of 2015
    • Approximately 7,700 in 2015; 8,700 in 2016; 7,900 in 2017; 10,200 in 2018; and 4,900 in 2019 thus far
  • Overall, 2018 is the war’s deadliest and most violent year on record

Impact on Civilians:

  • ACLED records nearly 4,500 direct civilian targeting events resulting in approximately 11,700 reported civilian fatalities since 2015
    • Approximately 4,500 reported fatalities in 2015; 2,200 in 2016; 1,900 in 2017; 2,400 in 2018; and 600 in 2019 thus far
  • 2015 is the deadliest year for direct anti-civilian violence on record, with almost twice the number of reported fatalities recorded during 2018, the second-most lethal year
  • The Saudi-led coalition and its allies remain responsible for the highest number of reported civilian fatalities from direct targeting, with over 8,000 since 2015…..”


Recent Posts