WHO in emergencies

With support from Japan, WHO delivers 16 ambulances to improve referral and emergency health services in Syria

January 2019 - Today, using a generous contribution from the Government of Japan, WHO handed over 16 ambulances to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC). The ambulances will help improve referral and emergency services in critically underserved governorates.

WHO/Syrian Arab Republic

Bracing for the harsh winter - lives of drought-hit Afghans in Heart province

January 2019 -- Ghulam is running out of options. during the past few months, rain has refused to fall. He watched his land turn into dust and his livestock die. Like hundreds of thousands of others, he has brought his family to the city of Herat, set up small camps by the roadside and trying to survive


WHO Director-General concludes New Year visit to Ebola-affected areas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

3 January 2019 --WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus traveled over the New Year to Ebola-affected areas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to review the response at this critical phase. Efforts to end the outbreak are continuing after recent disruptions, but further interruptions could have serious consequences, he warned.

Cholera and malnutrition in Yemen threatens millions

29 December 2018 ─ Al Sabeen Hospital in Sana’a has admitted many cholera patients over the last 2 years, including infants as young as 2 months. Many of them also suffer from acute malnutrition. At the peak of the cholera outbreak more than 150 patients a day were being admitted to Al Sabeen hospital with severe watery diarrhoea. Some 20% of the total were diagnosed with cholera.

Working side by side with the Ministry of Health and our partners, WHO priority is to end the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Statement on disruptions to the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

28 December 2018 -- WHO and partners are continuing to respond to the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, despite a deterioration of the security situation since yesterday morning.
Yesterday our teams in Beni were unable to carry out critical field work, including vaccinations, contact tracing, and following up on alerts of potential new cases. Protests at government buildings in Beni spilled over to an Ebola transit centre, frightening people waiting for Ebola test results and the staff who were caring for them. Staff at the centre temporarily withdrew and most suspected cases were transferred to a nearby treatment centre.

WHO/L. Gutcher

Donation from Sweden helps WHO support health care services in southern Syria

27 December 2018 – A generous donation from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) has enabled WHO to support medical teams in southern Syria. The teams provide primary health care services to thousands of people in the south who fled their homes in late June 2018 following an acute escalation of the conflict.

WHO condemns attack on Al Jala Hospital in Benghazi

27 December 2018 – The World Health Organization (WHO) strongly condemns the armed attack on Al Jala Hospital in Benghazi, Libya, on 25 December. The attack resulted in damage to the hospital infrastructure.
Al Jala Trauma Hospital works with limited supplies and resources, and under extreme pressure, to save lives and provide medical services for the whole east of Libya.

Outbreaks and crises

Map showing emergencies around the world that has a WHO grading, 2016.

WHO has an essential role to play in supporting Member States to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies with public health consequences.

What we do

From prevention through preparedness to early warning, response, and early recovery, the WHO Health Emergencies programme is operational.


Health crisis in Central African Republic.
WHO/C. Black

WHO thanks all of the contributors that provide funding or in-kind contribution for WHO’s work for emergencies.


WHO coordinates the international health response to emergencies and humanitarian crises, but we cannot do this work without our partners who help us deliver health services in even the most difficult situations.

Behind the headlines

At any one time, dozens of infectious disease outbreaks are happening around the world. In this special feature, we visit a series of recent health emergencies, telling the stories behind the headlines and exploring the many different dimensions of an outbreak response.

R&D Blueprint

Illustration of lab equipment.

The R&D Blueprint is a global strategy and preparedness plan to ensure that targeted R&D can strengthen the emergency response by bringing medical technologies to patients during epidemics.


WHO training on personal protective equipment during the Ebola outbreak in Guinea

The Director-General has established an Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme (IOAC), to provide oversight and monitoring of the development and performance of the Programme and to guide the Programme’s activities.



Each issue of the Health Emergency Highlights contains information on the current humanitarian context, the health priorities and response operations