The seven crises the world cannot ignore in 2023

How nice to start the new year with a clean slate: without conflicts, climate change or hunger. Unfortunately, more help is needed in 2023. We cannot ignore these seven humanitarian crises this year.

1. Somalia

It has hardly rained in Somalia for five seasons. About eight million people, nearly half of the population, suffer from the devastating effects of drought. It hasn’t been this dry in 40 years. Drought kills livestock and destroys crops. Many people in the country do not have enough food.

And if that wasn’t bad enough for Somalis, violence is also ravaging their country. This makes it difficult for aid workers to reach the central and southern regions most affected by the drought.

More than a million people have now fled drought and hunger in their region. They desperately need help. If we do not take drastic action now, there is a good chance that famine will strike in Somalia early next year. The Red Cross helps people in Somalia, for example, with food and medical aid, but also in setting up their own businesses.

Life in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, is not easy. This woman received financial assistance from the Red Cross and now successfully runs her own clothing store in Mogadishu.

2. Democratic Republic of the Congo

You will only live in a country where you fear violence every day. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, armed conflicts have left a trail of destruction and loss for more than 20 years.

In 2022, fighting intensifies in the east of the country. The Red Cross treated more than 1,100 patients across the country in one year. Many wounded or sick Congolese have nowhere to go for help, as many hospitals have been destroyed by the conflict.

Despite the increasing violence and great need for humanitarian aid, the DRC is receiving less and less international attention from donors and the media. And this is a big problem, because millions of people in the country need help to survive. Some five million people have already fled. As the crisis deepens, more and more children are going missing. So a special Red Cross team is working day and night to find these children.

Young girls wait their turn at the Red Cross drinking water distribution. They are looking for shelter and safety in this school near Goma.

3. Yemen

You may have seen pictures of him: children in Yemen malnourished to the bone. In the country, about 19 million people do not have enough to eat. This is more than 63% of the total population, which is very high! Unfortunately, the number of people in need of food is only increasing. Yemen relies on wheat from Russia and Ukraine, making it even more difficult for families already struggling to feed.

It is another blow to Yemenis, who have been dealing with a devastating conflict for eight years now. Hundreds of children die every day from malnutrition and diseases such as typhoid and cholera. There are few medical facilities and the water supply has been damaged. 70% of the population depends on humanitarian aid to survive. The Red Cross is also present in Yemen, where we help provide water, food, shelter and medical care.

The conflict in Yemen is also called the “forgotten war” because we hear so little about it. This is partly because it is difficult for journalists to get into the country to report on it. That is why we call not to forget this country, which is facing so many needs.

A Yemeni doctor treats a four-year-old girl suffering from malnutrition, brain atrophy and epilepsy. Her parents cannot afford the regular care she needs.

4- Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world and has suffered from conflict and violence for more than 40 years. But the instability and violence that followed the change of government, followed by a devastating earthquake and the worst drought in 27 years, plunged the country into a deep crisis.

Due to the ongoing drought, there is a huge shortage of food. 95% of people in Afghanistan do not have enough to eat. The available food is unaffordable for a large part of the population due to the economic crisis. More and more people, especially children, are suffering from malnutrition and need medical attention. But due to the unrest and violence in the country, the health system has collapsed.

The Red Cross and other organizations are in Afghanistan to help. But the recent news that women in Afghanistan are no longer allowed to study and work for NGOs has dire consequences for aid in the country. This is a major concern for us: more than 24 million Afghans need humanitarian assistance to get through the coming winter.

Helping women in Afghanistan
An Afghan Red Crescent worker monitors needs before food is distributed, helping to reach the most vulnerable.

5. Ethiopia

Climate change and protracted conflict in the Tigray region have pushed Ethiopia higher and higher on our Watch List. Although the fighting in northern Ethiopia has now stopped, humanitarian needs remain urgent after two years of conflict. Thousands of people in Tigray have been without food and medical care for months. Last November, we were finally able to resume our assistance, but more assistance is needed in the coming period to prevent further suffering for Ethiopians.

The deadly effects of the conflict come on top of devastating droughts in several regions of Ethiopia. Like Somalia, Ethiopia has had little rain for five seasons, causing livestock deaths and crop failures. The shepherds see their way of life disappear, and the farmers who cannot harvest anything without rain lose their livelihoods.

Dadi, standing next to the remains of her dead cattle at her home in Moyale, Ethiopia. The ongoing drought has killed many of her family’s livestock, leaving her without a source of livelihood.

6. Ukraine

Just as we finally got the corona under control, the world faced the next crisis. Violence broke out in Ukraine since February last year. The conflict has upended the lives of millions of people, including many children. Many Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety. According to the United Nations, it is the fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II.

Thanks to the great international interest in the conflict, we have been able to help many victims. Unfortunately, the struggle is not over yet. Now that winter has arrived in Ukraine, life is becoming increasingly difficult for many Ukrainians. Due to attacks on critical infrastructure, heating does not work in many places and many people do not have water or electricity. They need help to survive these cold months.

For example, the Red Cross helps provide blankets, generators, and home repairs. For example, we installed new windows, doors and roofs in 80 damaged houses in the village of Volnovaka in the Donetsk region. These reforms are badly needed to help people get through the winter.

Red Cross staff assess the situation of an elderly couple in Bucha. They are more at risk now that winter is coming.

7. Syria

You no longer see the conflict in Syria on the front pages every day. But, unfortunately, this does not mean that the country is doing much better now. It has been eleven years since the outbreak of civil war in the country, but the living conditions of millions of Syrians are worse than ever.

Not only were homes, bridges, and roads destroyed, but the economy completely collapsed. As a result, almost the entire population of Syria now lives below the poverty line. About 15 million people need humanitarian aid. Cholera has recently spread in the country. To prevent infection, it is very important that people have access to clean water. But many of the country’s water supplies are destroyed or out of date, leading to a rapid spread of disease. Half of health care has also collapsed, and many people do not have enough money for treatment or to go to hospital.

Many Syrians have had to flee in recent years. Some 6.7 million people remain internally displaced. Millions of people also live in camps in neighboring countries, often under difficult conditions.

A team from the International Red Cross enters the city of Darayya to examine unexploded ordnance

We are available for people in need

The people of Haiti, the Sahel and many other countries are also facing a very difficult time. Disasters, conflicts and climate change mean that up to 1 in 23 people worldwide need help to survive. The Red Cross is ready all over the world to help those in need. With affiliates in no less than 192 countries, we are the largest humanitarian aid organization in the world. And so we are always near you.

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