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Top humanitarian crises to watch in 2015

These are the top humanitarian crises and disasters we are watching and responding to in 2015.

By Chris Huber, World Vision U.S.
Updated September 21, 2015 at 10:30am PDT

Here’s a look at eight crises we are tracking in 2015.

Syria refugee crisis

The more than 4-year-old war in Syria has caused more than 4 million people — including nearly 2 million children — to flee the country as refugees. Within the country, the violence has displaced 7.6 million people. The refugee crisis has spilled into Europe. Education, family, and community life are disrupted.

Children are particularly vulnerable, while living in insecure conditions such as a refugee camp or host neighborhood with little infrastructure, or within the country, where fighting continues.

There appears to be no end in sight.

The U.N. and governments in the region asked for $5 billion in 2014 — the largest humanitarian appeal for a single response in history — to meet the immediate needs of displaced families and their hosts.

How we are helping | How you can help

Nepal Earthquake

A magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, toppling buildings and triggering avalanches in the Himalayas.

Some 8 million people are affected by the quake and the aftermath. More than 8,000 lives were lost.

World Vision has reached more than 200,000 affected people with clean water, cash assistance, food, household, and hygiene supplies, temporary shelter, cash-for-work programs, and protection for children.

Aid agencies and affected communities are turning their efforts toward building back better.

How we are helping | How you can help

Iraq displacement

Fighting has spilled over from Syria and flared up internally, displacing more than 4 million people as of June 15.  Iraq also hosts 250,000 Syrian refugees.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates about 8.6 million people now need humanitarian assistance, including food, shelter, clean water, sanitation services, and education support.

People seeking refuge in mountainous areas of northern Iraq will need help to weather the cold, snowy winter months ahead.

How World Vision is helping | How you can help

West Africa Ebola outbreak

The 2014 Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa is the worst since the disease was discovered in 1975.

The World Health Organization’s official death toll topped 6,388 on December 10 as governments and international aid agencies worked to control the spread of the virus. It’s especially bad in Sierra Leone and Liberia, which have seen 87 percent of the cases and 77 percent of the deaths.

Aid agencies and governments have ramped up their coordination to contain the outbreak through efforts such as providing community awareness training and equipping medical teams to conduct safe and dignified burials.

How we are helping | How you can help

South Sudan conflict

Since conflict broke out a year ago in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, 2.4 million people have fled their homes because of fighting. Many set up camp under the U.N.’s protection, dependent on aid from relief agencies. Their lives and prospects are limited.

Thousands of farming families missed the planting season or lost their livestock and now have no crops or income to hold them over until the next harvest. Hunger, malnutrition, and disease threaten their children’s lives. Schools are occupied by armed forces and displaced families, not students.

Humanitarian agencies responding to the crisis believe as many as 4.6 million people will face severe food shortages in mid- to late-2015.

How we are helping | How you can help

Somalia drought

Despite a slight increase in cereal crop production in 2014 in East Africa, more than 1 million people in Somalia’s central and southern areas still need emergency food assistance, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says.

Aid agencies there expect the food security situation to improve by March for some. But they are wary of the impact late seasonal floods could have on struggling families near the Shabelle and Juba Rivers.

Ongoing armed conflict and political insecurity have hindered efforts to help hungry families become more resilient to food shortages. However, some communities ravaged by the 2012 drought continue to make progress toward having enough to eat during lean times.

How you can help

Central American drought

Hundreds of thousands of families across Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are feeling the effects of a prolonged drought. In some areas, 80 percent of farming families reported losing their entire crop in 2014. The U.N. humanitarian agency (OCHA) estimates 2.5 million people are food insecure in those countries heading into 2015.

Honduras and Guatemala lost up to three-quarters of their bean and maize crops. For El Salvador, it’s the worst drought since 1977, OCHA reports. In eastern Guatemala’s “dry corridor,” one in four households suffers from malnutrition. This means children can’t concentrate in school and lack the caloric fuel they need to grow and thrive.

Central African Republic violence

The situation in CAR remains volatile as clashing groups continue violent attacks throughout the country of 4.6 million people. Conflict has displaced at least 430,000 people from their homes. Schools have closed, making children vulnerable to abuse and violence, including recruitment into the warring factions.

Now, millions of people need immediate help such as protection, food, and access to health services. Chronic malnutrition rates, among the highest in the world, have worsened during the conflict.

How we are helping | How you can help

Learn more

For more about the humanitarian crises of 2014, check out our slideshow at World Vision magazine, “Helping in the hard places: Crises of 2014.


Top humanitarian crises to watch in 2015:

  • Syria refugee crisis
  • Nepal earthquake
  • Iraq displacement
  • West Africa Ebloa outbreak
  • South Sudan conflict
  • Somalia drought
  • Central American drought
  • Central African Republic violence

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