Sources: Crisis relief worldwide

Crisis relief is required when the capacity to maintain and restore patterns of everyday life is endangered by a major event [1]. These events can be caused by terrorism, natural disasters, or war and conflict [1,2]. The goal of relief is to protect the civil population and provide immediate basic needs [3-5]. Responses frequently emphasize protecting the children and vulnerable, feeding the hungry, healing the sick and providing shelter and hygiene facilities [6,8]. Catastrophes that require humanitarian help also pose significant mental and physical health risks [7].

Facts and Figures

  • The largest crises of recent years include [8]:

    • The Syria Conflict with 12 million in need, half of them children. 

    • The Yemen Conflict with 24 million in need of humanitarian assistance.

    • South Sudan with more than half of the population in need of aid.

  • According to the Development Initiative, approximately 201 million people were in need of humanitarian aid in 2017 [11-13].

  • For the fifth consecutive year Syria was the single largest recipient of international humanitarian assistance [13].

  • In 2019, around 7.5 million people in South Sudan were in need of humanitarian aid [14]. 

  • In 2019, an estimated 11.1 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria. 4.7 million of those are acutely in need [15].

Effective solutions require collaborative work between governments, civilians, and foreign aid workers. Solutions should focus on four areas: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery [1]. Partnerships between larger international and local collaborators are an important factor in providing the best possible humanitarian response [8,9]. Further importance lies in monitoring the crises and finding gaps in order to respond in a coordinated and efficient manner [9,10]. The use of IT and data technologies and sufficient training for local aid workers can help deploy aid faster [5].


  1. Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief, Volume 2 (book)
  2. Disaster - Biological Threat (link
  3. Australian Government - Communities and vulnerable people: Emergency Relief (link)
  4. Emergency relief logistics: an evaluation of military, non-military and composite response models (research paper
  5. Government of the Netherlands - Emergency Aid and Humanitarian Diplomacy (link
  6. United Nations - Deliver Humanitarian Aid (link
  7. WHO - Strengthen Humanitarian Relief Work (link
  8. European Commission - Humanitarian Aid (link
  9. WHO - Humanitarian Heath Action (link
  10. United Nations - Deliver Humanitarian Aid (link
  11. Borgen Project - 9 Facts About Humanitarian Aid (link)
  12. Devinit - Global Humanitarian Assistance, 2017) (report)
  13. Devinit - Global Humanitarian Assistance, 2018 (report
  14. Reliefweb - South Sudan Crisis Factsheet, 2020 (fact sheet
  15. UK AID - Syria Crisis Response, 2020 (report