World + 46 more

Global Humanitarian Overview 2018 [EN/AR/ES/FR/ZH]


The Global Humanitarian Overview

  • Is the world’s most comprehensive, authoritative and evidence-based assessment of humanitarian needs;

  • Is based on detailed analysis of wide-ranging data from many different sources, and face-to-face interviews with hundreds of thousands of people directly affected by humanitarian crises across the globe;

  • Sets out detailed, prioritised, costed plans for meeting the needs of affected people, coordinated across the United Nations, with contributions from governments, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, other international organisations, NGOs and other relevant actors;

  • Facilitates principled, effective, rapid and coordinated responses to humanitarian crises, supporting prompt life-saving action by humanitarian agencies generously financed by governmental, private and individual donors

Reviewing 2017

  • In 2017, humanitarian agencies reached more people in need than ever before: tens of millions of them, saving millions of lives;

  • Donors provided record levels of funding to Humanitarian Response Plans—nearly $13 billion by the end of November;

  • Humanitarian agencies helped stave off famines in South Sudan, Somalia, north-east Nigeria and Yemen, through effective scale-up and the rapid release of funds by donors;

  • Agencies stepped up to provide rapid assistance to refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar; and • Mobilized to support countries in the Caribbean to prepare for and respond to successive hurricanes of a ferocity rarely seen before.

  • Despite conflict and other constraints complicating the provision of assistance, plans were implemented effectively, with costs averaging approximately $230 a year per person for essential needs.

In 2018

  • Conflict will continue to be the main driver of humanitarian needs.

  • Protracted violence will force people to flee from their homes, deny them access to enough food, and rob them of their means of making a living.

  • Droughts, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters will also create humanitarian needs. Although the risk of El Niño or La Niña is low next year, some scientists forecast an increased risk of earthquakes in 2018.

  • In a number of countries, humanitarian needs will fall, but still remain significant, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Mali, and Ukraine.

  • However, needs are rising substantially in Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Somalia and Sudan.

  • And needs will remain at exceptionally high levels in Nigeria, South Sudan, the Syria region, and Yemen, which is likely to remain the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

  • Overall, 136 million people across the world will need humanitarian assistance and protection.

  • UN-coordinated response plans costed at $22.5 billion can help 91 million.

-overall number of people in need is more than 5% higher than in the 2017 GHO. The cost of the response plans sets a new record, about 1% higher than at the start of 2017.

  • Humanitarian agencies will become more effective, efficient and cost-effective. They will respond faster to crises, in a way more attuned to the needs of those they are trying to help. They will undertake more comprehensive, cross-sectoral and impartial needs assessments.
    They will also contribute more to long-term solutions by working more closely with development agencies.

  • Larger country-based pooled funds will improve the agility and prioritised use of funds in the places where they operate. An expanded Central Emergency Response Fund will better support the least-funded major crises.

Global Humanitarian Overview 2018 Microsite


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit