At Year End, World Vision Reviews Worst Humanitarian Disasters of 2023

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    • In 2023, World Vision responded to 78 disasters and humanitarian crises in 59 countries around the world, supporting over 35.8 million people in need. In the United States alone, we supported more than 93,700 people during 15 emergencies.
In Baidoa, Somalia, a camp shelters women and children displaced by persistent drought and hunger. World Vision and its partners have provided vital aid, including monthly food vouchers and cash, to alleviate food insecurity. ©2023 World Vision)

SEATTLE (Dec. 28, 2023) – From the Maui wildfires to devastating earthquakes in Syria and Turkey, along with cyclones in Mozambique and Myanmar, Christian humanitarian organization World Vision has been at the forefront of extensive humanitarian response efforts worldwide, supporting communities in crisis.

In 2023, World Vision responded to 78 disasters and humanitarian crises in 59 countries around the world, supporting over 35.8 million people in need. In the United States alone, we supported more than 93,700 people during 15 emergencies.

“World Vision’s dedication to safeguarding the most vulnerable, especially children, during these challenging times is unwavering,” says Mark Smith, World Vision’s vice president of humanitarian and emergency affairs. “Disasters know no boundaries, but our mission is resolute: to provide vital assistance when and where it’s needed most.”

With pre-positioned relief supplies in warehouses across the U.S. and staff in nearly 100 countries, World Vision is able to respond to disasters around the world within 24 to 72 hours. In addition to delivering life-saving emergency aid, our staff offers long-term support for communities to recover and rebuild.

Below are examples of significant disasters and ongoing global crises that World Vision responded to in 2023, listed alphabetically:

Afghanistan humanitarian crisis: Already reeling from severe humanitarian crises, Afghanistan faced destructive earthquakes on October 7, 2023, that affected 1.6 million people. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans who fled the country to Pakistan when the de facto government transitioned into power in 2021 are now living in fear of deportation, while many have returned.

Cholera outbreaks: A resurgence of cholera threatens approximately 1 billion people, with 28 countries experiencing outbreaks in 2023. The crisis has been driven by escalating armed conflicts, extreme weather events, poverty and inadequate access to clean water and sanitation.

Cyclones: Devastating consecutive cyclones including Judy, Kevin, Freddy and Mocha wreaked havoc across several regions, affecting millions of people in Vanuatu, East Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Global hunger crisis: According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the number of people facing “crisis” or higher levels of food insecurity surged from 193 million across 53 countries in 2021 to 258 million across 58 countries in 2022. In 2023, the hunger crisis heightened, as the war in Ukraine drove up the costs of food, fuel and fertilizer.

Middle East crisis: Thousands of lives have been lost, tens of thousands have been injured and an estimated 1.5 million people are displaced. Families have lost everything due to the violence, and children with no safe havens are struggling to access essentials, including food, clean water, healthcare and education. The risk of the conflict spreading to the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and other Middle East countries also remains a concern.

Northern Ethiopia crisis: Children and families in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions face dire conditions, including high rates of malnutrition and food insecurity. The ongoing humanitarian needs are compounded by persistent drought, armed conflict, violence and disease outbreaks.

Sudan crisis: Even before violence escalated in April 2023, many people struggled daily to get enough food. Now, the conflict has intensified the situation, putting over 6 million people on the brink of famine, according to the WFP. To escape the danger, more than a million Sudanese people have sought refuge in neighboring countries while over 5 million are internally displaced.

Venezuela migration crisis: Political unrest, economic decline and critical shortages of necessities like food and medicine have marked Venezuela’s decade-long struggle. As of November 2023, more than 7.7 million people have sought improved living conditions abroad, straining social services in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

War in Ukraine: The ongoing conflict led to significant upheaval for families and has displaced 6.3 million people abroad. Children continue to encounter immense physical and emotional challenges, including a disruption of education for more than 5 million.

Wildfires in Maui: The deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century devastated the Hawaiian island of Maui in August 2023, leveling the historic town of Lahaina and tragically claiming at least 97 lives, as reported by Maui County officials on September 15, 2023.

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.