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,humanitarian crisesOur world today consists of 195 countries. The sheer volume of people on this planet and the scale of the problems they face can be overwhelming, especially when thinking of humanitarian aid. For this reason, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) began making a yearly emergency watchlist in 2019, highlighting which countries are facing humanitarian crises and require significant urgent aid.

The International Rescue Committee

The IRC has been around since the early 1900s and works globally to improve the lives of those impacted by global health issues, conflict, and natural disasters. They focus on empowering individuals to take back control of their lives. In their U.S. offices, the IRC provides aid to displaced individuals seeking asylum in the U.S.

Generating the List

The IRC analyzes a variety of factors to decide a nation’s human risk, natural risk, vulnerability, and ability to cope during a crisis. These factors are then used to decide which countries are most in danger of humanitarian crises and require the most aid.

10 Countries Facing Humanitarian Crises in 2020

  1. Yemen: Roughly 80% of Yemenis need humanitarian assistance this year, including more than 12 million children. Yemen has been in a civil war for 5 years that has destroyed infrastructure, sanitation systems, medical centers, food distribution capabilities, and has killed roughly 250,000 citizens. Global organizations such as UNICEF agree that the crisis in Yemen is the “largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”
  2. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): More than 15.9 million people in the DRC need humanitarian assistance this year. The Eastern DRC has been plagued with conflict and instability for nearly 30 years. This persistent instability has made it difficult for the country to develop infrastructure and food security. The current humanitarian risks in the DRC revolve around food security, Ebola, and Measles. To date, more than 2,000 people have died from Ebola in the DRC, making this the second-largest outbreak in the world.
  3. Syria: 11 million Syrians need humanitarian assistance this year. Since conflict broke out in 2011, more than half of the Syrian population has been displaced. Civilians have been caught in the crossfire of the war between President Assad and opposition groups. These years of conflict have caused extreme damage to Syrian infrastructure, including medical and educational resources.
  4. Nigeria: Close to 8 million Nigerians in the conflict-ridden states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe currently need humanitarian assistance, especially regarding sexual violence. Since 2009, roughly 13,000 civilians have died, and thousands of women and children have been assaulted. This year, 826 allegations of sexual abuse were presented in a report to the UN, but many believe that the number of cases is much higher. The northeast of Nigeria is seeing large levels of food insecurity, displacement, violence, and an outbreak of cholera.
  5. Venezuela: 7 million Venezuelans need humanitarian assistance this year. Due to political conflict, Venezuela is facing an economic crisis that has left 94% of households in poverty. Severe inflation has made the cost of basic goods so high that most Venezuelans cannot afford them. Because of this, an estimated 5,000 Venezuelans flee the country every day.
  6. Afghanistan: More than 9.4 million Afghans need humanitarian assistance this year. Since the 2001 NATO invasion that ousted the Taliban, Afghanistan has been experiencing political instability and conflict. The Taliban now controls more of the country than ever before, and after a failed peace deal in 2019, the country faces another contested election. An additional side effect of the conflict in Afghanistan has been a surge in mental illness. Although Afghanistan does not provide mental health reports, the World Health Administration estimates that more than a million Afghans suffer from depression and more than 1.2 million suffer from anxiety.
  7. South Sudan: More than 7.5 million people in South Sudan need humanitarian assistance this year. Since the civil conflict began in 2013, nearly 400,000 people have died, and millions have been displaced. South Sudan is also facing a massive food insecurity crisis that has been exacerbated by the conflict.
  8. Burkina Faso: In Burkina Faso, roughly 2.2 million people need humanitarian assistance, but the situation is drastically worsening. Armed groups are carrying out attacks throughout the nation. This caused the displacement of more than 500,000 people by the end of 2019. According to the UN 2019 report, the number of internally displaced people (IDFs) increased by 712% from January to December.
  9. Somalia: Roughly 5.2 million Somalis are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. Since the fall of President Muhammed Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has been facing persistent instability and conflict. This conflict has led more than 740,000 people to flee the country. In addition, Somalia is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters due to its underdevelopment.
  10. Central African Republic (CAR): More than 2.6 million Central Africans need humanitarian assistance this year. In 2013, an armed alliance called the Seleka overran the capital of the CAR. Political instability has been rampant ever since. More than a quarter of all Central Africans were displaced, causing food insecurity and underdevelopment.

Although the countries on this watchlist represent 6% of the world’s population, they comprise 55% of those identified to be in need by the 2020 Global Humanitarian Overview. The IRC’s watchlist is an extremely helpful resource that should be utilized for the assessment of which countries are facing humanitarian crises and require foreign aid.

Danielle Forrey
Photo: Pixabay

help Guatemala
Currently, in Guatemala, 200 people are missing, 110 people are deceased and more than 1.7 million people have been impacted by the eruption of the Fuego volcano that began on June 3. It was the nation’s most severe volcanic eruption in 45 years and the size of this disaster has compelled many around the world to act.

Images of the volcano’s victims and its devastating impact are easily accessible on social media, as are advocacy and volunteer opportunities. Keep reading for a few examples of how to help Guatemala’s Fuego victims and bring awareness to the crisis.

Advocacy on Social Media

Social media has made advocacy from home possible and is one of the easiest ways to get involved in a cause. Several hashtags have popped up on social media platforms since the eruption began as a way to raise awareness along with fundraising and donation opportunities. With a simple search on Instagram or Twitter for any of the hashtags mentioned below, users can see pictures and updates on life in Guatemala after the volcano.

Examples of popular hashtags include:

  • #PrayForGuatemala
  • #GuatemalaEstoyContigo
  • #TodosPorGuate
  • #VolcanDeFuego
  • #FuerzaGuatemala

Finding Volunteers on Facebook

Another social media site that has offered ways to help Guatemala is Facebook. Beyond matching donations, the Crisis Response page on Facebook for the volcanic eruption has become a way for locals to find and give help. Facebook users can post to the page and list what they are offering or need, their location and how to get in contact with them.

Scrolling through the page shows people offering food, shelter or supplies, requesting help and asking for volunteers in specific locations. What is even more impressive is the number of posts that have already been completed or closed. This is yet another example of a relatively easy and effective way to help victims of Fuego’s eruption.

Red Cross Volunteers Working Hard

The Red Cross, led by the CruzRojaGT or Guatemalan arm of the organization, has been working tirelessly to provide rescue operations and support to Guatemalans. This organization has no intention of leaving soon and is putting long-term plans into place in order to keep helping survivors of this crisis.

The organization administered an emergency appeal to maintain programs in Guatemala to support 6,000 vulnerable people for at least a year. More than two weeks after the initial eruption, there are still 1,600 volunteers helping families evacuated during the eruption.

The American Red Cross is offering help as well, with programs set up to help people find loved ones they may have lost contact with in Guatemala. Beyond donating to the cause, sharing this information and keeping up to date on the current conditions are great ways to get involved with the Red Cross efforts.

Donations Flow In to Help Guatemala

In horrible times of crisis, sometimes the only positives are outpourings of support from the global community. There are many organizations and nonprofits accepting donations to provide help to burn victims, shelters, supplies and future rebuilding. GoFundMe set up a page with verified campaigns aiming to raise money to help Guatemala. Many of these funds were started by Guatemalans or people with ties to the country and some have already raised over $100,000.

This is partially made possible by the thousands of social media users who have used hashtags and posts to bring awareness to these causes and the ongoing impacts of the eruption. After the dust settles in Guatemala, it is important to keep sharing and being advocates for the millions of people impacted by Fuego’s eruption and to bring awareness to this crisis.

– Alexandra Eppenauer
Photo: Flickr

Hungary_refugee

Though the European refugee crisis has largely faded from the international media’s spotlight, thousands of asylum-seekers continue to enter Europe by any means possible with the hopes of starting a new life. In the face of this ongoing humanitarian crisis, the Hungarian grassroots organization Migration Aid has harnessed the power of social media as a means of delivering aid and guidance to thousands of refugees.

Migration Aid was founded in June 2015, at the height of the European refugee crisis, by a handful of concerned citizens in Budapest that desired to help people in Hungary. The organization originated as a closed group on Facebook, which was utilized as a virtual planning board for orchestrating aid delivery, which included food and supplies distribution. The organization also consisted of various specialty groups with coordinators assigned to handle legal matters, storage, logistics and any other issues. Migration Aid set up centers in the railway stations of Budapest and the surrounding area and quickly grew to over 600 volunteers.

Two years have elapsed since the group’s inception, during which time Migration Aid has helped feed, clothe and provide direction to thousands of refugees, but the situation faced by asylum-seekers in Hungary remains extremely tenuous. Hungary’s geographic location has forced the country into a major role in the crisis, as it is a popular by-way for migrants hoping to settle further afield from the Middle East in Northern and Western Europe. Between January and August of 2017, 2,491 asylum applications were registered in Hungary alone.

The European Union has endeavored to establish a comprehensive and effective means of responding to what has become the largest global displacement crisis since World War II. In September 2015, the European Commission announced a minimum quota of refugees that each EU member country would be expected to host, with the intention of fairly distributing the burden of providing for the record numbers of migrants streaming into the continent. It was also in September 2015 that Hungary closed its borders to refugees, and began strictly limiting their movement throughout the country.

Furthermore, Hungarian officials have resisted compliance with the quotas and policies made obligatory for all members of the EU. In March 2017, the Hungarian government implemented a law requiring that all refugees whose asylum applications were pending be housed in detention centers. When it was discovered that the housing units available at these detention centers were comprised of shipping containers and that refugees were being forced to pay for their stay, the United Nations refugee agency urged the E.U. to stop sending asylum seekers to Hungary, declaring this mandatory detention a violation of international law that guarantees people access to asylum.

Additionally, Viktor Mihály Orbán, a Hungarian politician, petitioned the European Commission President to exempt Hungary from the migrant relocation quotas, a request which was denied and earned the Hungarian government a lawsuit for failure to comply.

In the face of the conditions now being imposed on refugees, Migration Aid has developed new strategies to help people in Hungary. Recognizing the need for information dissemination pertaining to the new laws and regulations, the organization developed a new application named InfoAid, which seeks to provide information to asylum-seekers in their native language. According to Migration Aid’s website, the InfoAid app seeks to provide the following types of information:

  • what rules apply to them
  • where they can receive care
  • what is going on in transport
  • where there is safe drinking water in Hungary
  • where and how they should buy train tickets
  • where they can receive medical care
  • how they should collect the waste they generate
  • where, when and why they have to register and what exactly it involves

The InfoAid app supplies information in English, Arabic, Urdu and Farsi. Migration Aid is currently seeking the help of volunteer translators so that they can keep up with the need for translated information, as well as expand their offerings to include Greek and Pashto.

Thanks to internet technology, anyone around the world with relevant language skills wondering how to help people in Hungary can act as an invaluable source of aid by donating their time and skills. More information about volunteering can be found on Migration Aid’s official website, or on the Facebook page.

For individuals desirous of contributing but who lack the language skills required to volunteer, Migration Aid also accepts monetary donations, which are fundamental to the organization’s ability to help people in Hungary. Now more than ever, the innovative and progressive efforts that this organization continues to make on behalf of refugees in Hungary is a tremendous source of hope and comfort to many.

Savannah Bequeaith

Photo: Flickr

Youth Unemployment CrisisYouth unemployment is an increasing worldwide crisis. As of 2016, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that 71 million 15 to 24-year-olds around the world are unemployed, many of whom are facing long-term unemployment. To put this number into perspective, youth unemployment is “close to an historic peak” of 13 percent.

The youth unemployment crisis impacts low-income countries the most because even employed citizens are at risk of poverty. In 2016 the ILO estimated that about 156 million employed youths in these countries lived in poverty. This makes up a substantial 38 percent of youths in developing nations.

For the sake of the world’s economy as well as these youths, here are four potential solutions to the youth unemployment crisis:

  1. One of the main causes of the youth unemployment crisis is the lack of quality education worldwide. It was reported in 2016 that about 40 percent of employers find it difficult to recruit people with needed skills. This is because about 250 million children worldwide do not acquire basic reading, writing and math skills. Therefore, nearly one in five youths do not gain the most basic skills needed for employment. By ensuring quality education globally, students will be able to acquire skills needed for gaining employment.
  2. A significant number of youths cannot acquire the education needed for employment because of crisis and conflict. An estimated 75 million children between the ages of three and 18 currently live in countries that are in conflict. These children are twice as likely as their counterparts to have no access to quality education. Thus, to resolve the youth unemployment crisis by allowing youth to get jobs, crisis and conflict in war-torn countries must first be dramatically reduced.
  3. To resolve the youth unemployment crisis, the focus must also shift toward gender equality in education. Gender distribution in the international labor force is woefully disproportionate. According to the ILO, 53.9 percent of young men compared to 37.3 percent of young women are employed. This is due in part to cultural beliefs regarding working women, but also has to do with a lack of women’s education. Globally, 61 million young women are not enrolled in primary or lower-secondary school, giving them little opportunity to gain skills for employment. This includes literacy, as “two-thirds of the world’s illiterates are women.” Therefore, addressing gender inequality in education is a necessary step towards reducing youth unemployment.
  4. Aside from reforming education, tackling youth unemployment will also take commitment to funding research, educational programs and employment programs. In order to finance these programs, funding for education needs to increase to $3 trillion by 2030. As the current investment in education stands at $1.2 trillion, reaching this goal requires large-scale cooperation. This means that companies, governments, non-government organizations and schools must form partnerships to invest in research and solutions to youth unemployment.

Resolving the youth unemployment crisis is critical for not only the well-being of youths worldwide, but also for the global economy. Mass youth unemployment slows progress and thereby it is essential to take steps toward ending it.

Haley Hurtt
Photo: Flickr

Education During CrisisIt seems that every day, a new crisis emerges in some area of the world. Whether it is a natural disaster, war or a political upheaval, there is a common theme: humanitarian aid organizations are quick to respond, while education during crisis falls by the wayside.

In impoverished countries, education is typically lacking, as the need for food and shelter come first. Conflict is a leading cause of both poverty and the suspension of education.

According to An International Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), conflict-affected countries have 20 percent of the world’s primary-school-aged children. Unfortunately, these nations also host 50 percent of the world’s out-of-school children.

Access to a quality education is the United Nation’s fourth sustainable development goal. According to the U.N., “When people can get quality education, they can break from the cycle of poverty… Education is also crucial to fostering tolerance between people and contributes to more peaceful societies.”

Many organizations are working to make education during crisis a top priority. One such organization, Education Cannot Wait, is thinking of innovative ways to give children in poor situations a quality education.

In alliance with the U.N.’s sustainable development goal, Education Cannot Wait cites five challenges that need to get conquered for all of the world’s children to receive adequate education by the year 2030. They are as follows:

  1. Lack of prioritization (during emergencies)
    Only two percent of humanitarian aid during a crisis gets given to educational programs.
  2. Poor coordination between humanitarian and development groups
  3. Preparedness in the educational sector is a problem during emergencies.
    According to the INEE, individual sectors should create contingency plans that will help in creating a cohesive procedure for education during a crisis.
  4. Insufficient humanitarian funding
    Currently, $8.5 billion is needed annually to close the education gap. Humanitarian and development efforts have not matched the frequency of crisis.
  5. Lack of real-time data
    As the problem of inadequate education during crisis is often unrecognized, the data collected on the issue is not enough to promote change.

Many people are simply unaware that there is a problem of a lack of education during a crisis. One of the most important tools in counteracting the problem is knowledge and awareness. This is why the U.N. is also working to inform people and give clear ways to help. Here are a few ways to help today:

  • Ask your government leaders to make education a priority in policy and practice.
  • Lobby the government to commit to free, primary school education for all.
  • Encourage the private sector to invest in education.
  • Urge non-governmental organizations to foster the growth of education at the local level.

Madeline Boeding

Photo: Google

Cholera Crisis in Somalia
For the vast majority of developing countries, poor water quality and waterborne disease are the biggest contributors to mortality rates. For the people of Somalia, this reality has only been made more evident in their recent cholera crisis.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease.  It has the potential to kill its victims within hours if left untreated. Not only is the disease extremely virulent and easy to contract, but it also kills at unprecedented speed and is often difficult to detect.

The transmission of cholera gets often linked to a lack of access to clean water sources and sanitation facilities. This type of environment is particularly characteristic of the peri-urban slums of Somalia where open defecation is commonplace, and populations get crowded together.

The cholera crisis in Somalia stems from an endemic food deficiency that has plagued the country for years and has placed them on the brink of famine. Drought and extreme food insecurity have forced Somalian farmers into crowded urban areas putting an even greater strain on the limited clean water sources and contributing to the poor hygiene problem. After three consecutive years of failed rains, the current drought has resulted in more than 600 deaths. Most of these were related to acute watery diarrhea or cholera.

A humanitarian coordinator notes of the crisis: “Open defecation not only puts women’s dignity and security at risk, but it also poses a serious health hazard.” In addition to providing vaccines and treatment for existing cases of cholera, it is imperative that Somalians acknowledge the dangers of poor hygiene habits on their health and prioritize finding alternatives.

CARE Somalia is making an impact on the crisis through water, sanitation and hygiene efforts to prevent the onset of the disease. Alongside the Ministry of Health in Somalia, they reached over 250,000 people and potentially save the lives of thousands.

Another integral part of the organization’s humanitarian aid is the distribution of water purification tablets. The tablets can treat large volumes of water with chlorine and disinfect within 30 minutes, killing off bacteria that could transmit typhoid or cholera in a community’s water supply.

Since 2011, CARE invested in water infrastructure and hygiene efforts to curb another famine and improve the cholera crisis in Somalia. Although progress has been made, it is vital to keep the momentum on the project and continue prioritizing infectious disease prevention in poor slums worldwide.

Sarah Coiro

Photo: Flickr


As the rainy season approaches in the war-torn Lake Chad region of Africa, humanitarian organizations stand on high alert. The Lake Chad Basin is composed of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. With some of these countries facing violent attacks from Boko Haram and others in desperate humanitarian circumstances, this upcoming rainy season poses a threat to millions of lives. Fortunately, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), USAID and other humanitarian organizations are coming together to figure out solutions to the Lake Chad crisis.

The focal threat of the rainy season is disease and famine, caused by flooding and muddy roads which limit the accessibility and mobility of populations. With more than seven million people already suffering from malnutrition in this region, the threat of the rainy season puts 17 million individuals, mainly women and children, directly at risk. Of those 17 million, 5.6 million children are in danger of contracting water-borne diseases such as cholera, which can prove fatal if not treated.

Amplified by the violence occurring in the Lake Chad region (specifically conflict in Northern Nigeria), the threat of this upcoming rainy season is palpable. Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria prevents much of the aid from reaching the affected population. The group has also destroyed vital infrastructure such as medical clinics, schools, water pipelines, bridges and roads, which has left many without access to essential services.

With 2.3 million people already displaced in the Lake Chad region, it is essential that humanitarian organizations work with haste. After meeting at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, international humanitarian agencies have devised a response plan for 2017. However, it will require a budget of $1.5 billion, which is out of reach for most aid agencies.

Despite the lack of funding, UNICEF and its partners have stayed committed to the cause, going to the communities at the highest risk for cholera outbreaks and teaching families about sanitation and how to protect themselves against water-borne infections. In Niger, Cameroon and Chad, the distribution of essential drugs and bars of soap have helped out the citizens living in internally displaced persons’ camps. Humanitarian organizations are also urging the governments of the affected populations to take their responsibilities seriously and protect their civilians.

Despite the difficulties faced by both the concerned communities and the aid organizations trying to reach them, UNICEF, the WHO and other international humanitarian agencies still dedicate their resources to helping those in the Lake Chad crisis.

Kelly Hayes

Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Africa's Education Crisis
The right to primary education frames many international statements on human rights and education. While South Africa did achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of universal primary education ahead of the 2015 target year, it is unfathomable to think that 17 million of its school-aged children will never attend school. Africa’s struggling educational sector can be outlined in these 10 facts about Africa’s education crisis.

10 Facts About Africa’s Education Crisis

  1. There are 12 countries in Africa–namely Malawi, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Chad, Ethiopia, Congo, South Africa, Namibia and Comoros–in which 30 percent or more of children do not meet a minimum standard of learning by grades four or five.
  2. In countries such as Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia, over half of in-school students are not learning basic skills by the end of primary school.
  3. A global competitiveness report released by World Economic Forum ranks South Africa last out of 140 countries in regards to the quality of education offered. This perception will severely impact the willingness of employers to create more jobs and invest in the country, thus plunging the South African economy further down.
  4. The fact that only 53 percent of year 12 students who sat for math exams in 2014 achieved above 30 percent, and only 35 percent achieved above 40 percent, shows the extent of the education crisis. One of the more disturbing statistics among these 10 facts about Africa’s education crisis is that 25 percent of South African schools do not even offer mathematics in grades 10 to 12.
  5. Despite being a middle-income country and having six percent of its GDP spent on education, South Africa’s performance in standardized tests is far below the average for African countries.
  6. Another major concern is the relation between the language of instruction and student performance. South Africa’s population speaks 11 languages, and students writing the examination in a language other than their mother tongue continue to experience great difficulty in interpreting questions and phrasing their responses.
  7. Teachers’ knowledge of English is poor, and, unless emphasis is laid on training and preparing teachers, the state of education will not improve. According to the World Bank, teacher absenteeism, neglect and lack of a working knowledge of the language may be blamed for poor student performance.
  8. In many countries within sub-Saharan Africa, educational disparities exist with respect to wealth, gender and social divisions. The degree of extreme educational poverty, which is defined by less than two years spent in school, is much higher among the poor. For instance, in Ethiopia, a staggering 68.3 percent of the poorest quintile of its population lives in educational poverty.
  9. According to Action Aid, the economic crisis has meant that around £2.9 billion is expected to be lost to education budgets for the sub-Saharan regions. It is not an overstatement to say that most rich countries have failed to keep their promises to help poor countries out of educational poverty. This is also attributed to the fact that both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have severely restricted funding to poor countries, thus reducing their chances of investing in education.
  10. Despite all these reasons, both internal and international politics play a major role to play in Africa’s educational crisis.

Education is probably the single most influential tool to ensure that poor countries have the resources to pull themselves out of poverty. While many historic, social, economic, political and international issues play an important role in Africa’s existing educational situation, one can only hope that these 10 facts about Africa’s education crisis will shed some light on the existing roadblocks that the continent faces in fighting its education poverty.

Jagriti Misra

Photo: Flickr


As the war in the Middle East rages on, many people are forced to leave their homes due to violence and intolerance. As a result, millions of people from the Middle East are seeking refuge. Qatar, home to 2.7 million people, is a peninsular Arab country located on the Persian Gulf. Many Syrian refugees have tried to flee to Qatar but are unable to do so. Here are 10 facts about refugees in Qatar.

10 Crucial Facts to Know About Refugees in Qatar

  1. A refugee is someone forced to leave their country to escape a disaster.
  2. Despite being an extraordinarily wealthy country, Qatar has resettled no refugees.
  3. Many Gulf countries, including United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, have also turned down Syrian refugees.
  4. There are more than 13.5 million people in Syria who are in need of humanitarian assistance. Five million Syrian refugees currently live inTurkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
  5. Qatar has earned vocal criticism for its refusal to accept refugees.
  6. Why are there no refugees in Qatar? Many experts blame visa restrictions, which make it difficult for Syrians to enter countries along the Gulf.
  7. Officials from Qatar defend the country by pointing out that their country donates millions of dollars to the United Nations to help refugees.
  8. In an exclusive interview, Qatari Foreign Minister Dr. Khalid Al-Attiyah further defended Qatar. He stated, “The state of Qatar is in no way falling short in its responsibilities when it comes to the Syrian crisis.” He reminded people that Qatar has launched many programs to help Syrian refugees, including humanitarian, economic and diplomatic initiatives.
  9. This is true, as seen in an initiative by Qatar back in 2012. In partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,  Sheikha Moza, a member of Qatar’s royal family, launched a $12 million education program that will help dozens of countries fund schooling for 172,000 refugee children.
  10. Despite Qatar’s financial aid, many experts believe Qatar must do more. The U.N. has requested that all developed nations open their borders to refugees, including Qatar.

Overall, Qatar’s response to the refugee crisis is quite controversial. Qatar has donated millions of dollars to help refugees, but it has yet to accept any refugees into its own borders. The hope for the future is that there will be more opportunities for Syrian refugees in Qatar.

Morgan Leahy

Photo: Flickr


The WHO’s “Ten years in public health 2007-2017” report chronicles the “evolution of global public health” over the past decade. The report emphasizes the escalation of chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCD) as the largest threat to global health.

Chronic NCDs are categorized as diseases that progress slowly. The four main NCDs are cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease, all of which share common risk factors abundant in non-health sectors. NCDs have only recently been recognized as a main component in the impending global health crisis. These chronic diseases share four risk factors: tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, unhealthy diet and minimal physical activity.

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 70 percent of global deaths were due to NCDs (39.5 million out of 56.4 million). Out of the 39.5 million NCD fatalities, 30.7 million occurred in low and middle-income countries.

Health systems traditionally rely on curing individual disease as they arise. However, current health systems are not sustainable due to insufficient disease management and care. Access to disease treatment is becoming unavailable for millions of individuals, including affluent people in wealthy countries.

A study released by the World Economic Forum states that diabetes cost the global economy nearly $500 billion in 2010 and this is projected to increase to $745 billion by 2030. Newly approved cancer treatments average $120,000 per person, causing medical care to be “unaffordable for even the richest countries in the world.”

These high costs have four severe implications:

  1. They undermine the traditionally ethical ideal that healthcare should be available to everyone;
  2. The need for social protection becomes obvious when a person has to spend much as 60 percent of their income to get diabetes medication;
  3. Prevention becomes the foundation of global health;
  4. High costs clarify that no economy can outlast the NCD global crisis by investing solely in treatment services.

The WHO report ‘Ten years in public health 2007-2017’ estimates that 40 million people die each year from NDCs, “accounting for 70 percent of all deaths worldwide.” According to Margaret Chan, Director-General at WHO, chronic noncommunicable diseases have surpassed infectious disease as the leading cause of death worldwide.

The WHO’s newly established ‘Health Emergencies Programme’, enables faster response to global pandemics and emergencies. The programme collaborates with various countries and partners to “prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from all hazards that create health emergencies, including disasters, disease outbreaks and conflicts.” It is also focused on community engagement and increasing disease prevention in public health services.

Chan urges the world to focus on implementing universal health care to reduce noncommunicable diseases. It is the ultimate expression of equality, ensuring no one is left behind.

Madison O’Connell

Photo: Flickr