6.8 million people are in need in of humanitarian assistance in Syria and the UNHCR has defined the crisis as the worst humanitarian disaster since the end of the cold war. 4.25 million people are displaced and over 1.3 million people have fled into neighbouring countries. Fierce fighting continues across the country and cross-border shelling into Lebanon has intensified over the last days.
An earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale struck a mountainous area of southwestern Sichuan province in China on 20 April. More than 1.52 million people are estimated to be affected, of which more than 11,000 are injured and 245,000 urgently evacuated as of 21 April. Blocked roads and infrastructural damage reportedly hamper access for relief operations.
In Sudan, massive displacements occurred due to fighting in the Darfur region over the past two weeks. In Eastern Darfur, 40,000 people have been displaced since 6 April and the humanitarian organisations still lack access to some 18,000 of them. In Central Darfur, protracted tribal fighting is causing additional displacements while some 50,000 people have already fled the area last week.
In the north of Mali, France continued its offensive in an attempt to establish control over the northern territories. Meanwhile, the security situation remains volatile with continued risk of asymmetric attacks carried out by Islamist militants in the main northern towns. The conflict has displaced some 467,000 people, of which more than 292,000 are internally displaced.
The humanitarian crisis linked to violence and the related power struggle in the Central African Republic is now affecting the whole population of 4.6 million people in the country, according to UNICEF. More than 2.3 million of these are children. In Bangui, violent clashes erupted between supporters of the new authorities and groups loyal to the former President Bozizé.