Top humanitarian crises to watch in 2014

World Vision disaster relief experts identify six humanitarian emergencies to follow this year.

By Chris Huber, World Vision U.S.
Published March 3, 2014 at 08:30am PST

Ongoing conflict and increasingly frequent natural disasters worldwide affect millions of children and families. Our disaster relief experts identify six humanitarian emergencies happening right now.

Syrian refugee crisis

As Syria’s civil war heads into its fourth year, the humanitarian situation grows more desperate.

About 2.5 million people have fled as refugees to neighboring countries, placing unprecedented strain on host communities. Another 6.5 million people still in Syria need immediate humanitarian aid.

On February 22, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution to improve access to aid inside Syria.

More: FAQs: Syrian refugee crisis and World Vision’s response

Typhoon recovery in the Philippines

More than 14 million people are still dealing with the catastrophic effects of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms on record to make landfall.

Families in hardest-hit areas have struggled for months to find enough clean water and food to get by. Millions rely on humanitarian aid as they try to rebuild their homes, livelihoods, and communities.

More: Philippines typhoon recovery: Restoring clean water to schools and homes

South Sudan conflict

Thousands have died and nearly 900,000 people have been displaced since fighting erupted December 15 in the world’s youngest nation.

Clashes between South Sudan’s army and fighters loyal to the former vice president broke a cease-fire signed in January and hinder aid agencies’ efforts to bring food and basic supplies to families in need.

More: South Sudan conflict: Malnutrition threatens 1.25 million children

Fighting in Central African Republic

Thousands of people have been killed and about 700,000 have been uprooted as intense sectarian violence engulfs this country of about 4.6 million.

Security has generally improved in recent weeks, according to a Reuters report. But the situation remains precarious as more than half the country’s population needs humanitarian assistance.

Conflict in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Decades of armed conflict have displaced 2.9 million people. About 6.7 million need assistance now.

Unrest in the Central African Republic has forced about 60,000 refugees into the northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Violence in Katanga province, to the southeast, displaced about 409,000 people in recent months.

In the east, dozens of rebel groups fight for control over mineral-rich land or political clout. The surrender in November of the M23 rebel group, near the country’s borders with Rwanda and Uganda, triggered a military campaign to quell further violence in the region.

DRC ranks last out of 186 countries on the Human Development Index.

More: Slideshow: In DRC, Children’s fears reflect conflict’s horrors

Turmoil and food insecurity in Mali

More than 3 million Malians may run out of food in the coming months as a result of below-average harvests and the lingering effects of conflict.

About 800,000 people need food assistance, according to World Vision and other agencies that are helping communities deal with lack of food supplies.

This represents a larger struggle throughout West Africa, where conflict, the third drought in a decade, and political instability hinder millions of families’ ability to get back on their feet.

More: Mali, Sahel countries face renewed food crisis

How you can help

  • Pray for children and families suffering from humanitarian crises. Pray for effective interventions that will save lives, and pray for long-term solutions to address hunger, poverty, and disease in these struggling countries.
  • Make a one-time donation to help provide life-saving food and care. You can help provide life-saving food, agricultural support, livestock, clean water, medicines, and other essential care to hungry children and families around the world.