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2018 Early Warning Forecast: 11 Humanitarian Hotspots for the World to Watch in 2018


BALTIMORE, Dec. 20, 2017 - Lutheran World Relief (LWR), an international NGO working to develop sustainable solutions to poverty, has released its 2018 Early Warning Forecast of regions it is monitoring for potential or worsening humanitarian crises over the coming year: 11 Humanitarian Hotspots for the World to Watch

Ambassador Daniel V. Speckhard, LWR president & CEO, noted that armed conflict is a thread running through the world's current crises.

"From Syria to Yemen to South Sudan to the Philippines and Myanmar, we are witnessing spiraling violence and repeated violations of humanitarian law, including targeting of hospitals, schools and civilian residential areas, as well as blockades of relief aid," he said. "These large, simultaneous emergencies have taxed the international community's ability to respond."

Recent political developments, including the global embrace of nationalist populism and a lack of cohesive leadership in the international community, have only increased tensions.

"The international political and security situation is at one of its most dangerous points since the end of the Cold War, and in such an insecure and deeply hostile world, the world's poorest and most vulnerable people will suffer the most." Speckhard said. "As more and more Western governments close their borders to refugees fleeing war, the world's capacity for compassion seems to be shrinking."

The countries and regions on the 2018 Watch List include:

  • The Rohingya, facing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, flee to Bangladesh

  • In Yemen, using food as a weapon

  • Ending protected status for Central American and Haitian refugees threaten local economies

  • Uganda struggles with a refugee spike

  • Diseases and pests are devastating crops in the developing world

  • As ISIS leaves Iraq, Kurdish tensions escalate

  • West Africa's Sahel: A crossroads for extremists and human trafficking

  • ISIS gains a foothold in the Philippines

  • Lebanon: An arena for Saudi vs. Iran tug of war

  • Zimbabwe post-Mugabe: What may be next

  • Venezuela on the brink

The 2018 Early Warning Forecast can be downloaded at

About Lutheran World Relief LWR is an international NGO with nearly 75 years of demonstrated expertise that works in partnership with local communities to build their capabilities and collaborate on long-term solutions to reduce extreme poverty. In times of emergency, LWR is also a trusted partner to distribute aid and ensure people are prepared to withstand the next unexpected challenge. For more information, visit lwr.org