Each year, Lutheran World Relief looks ahead to the coming year in our Early Warning Forecast to what possible crises, disasters and conflicts will add to the challenges faced by families living in poverty around the world. From Bangladesh to Uganda to Yemen to Venezuela, we’ve identified 11 Humanitarian Hotspots that will deserve the world’s attention — and compassion — as we move forward in 2018.
Ranging from increased movements of migrants and refugees, to threats to food security, to increasing extremism and political instability, we are confronting multiple humanitarian crises that are massive in scale and that will continue, and possibly worsen, in the next year.
Conflict is Driving Crises
We have been struggling with four food crises — in three African nations and Yemen — that are verging on famine, as well as historic levels of migration and displacement, along with rampant cholera that is claiming lives daily.
Armed conflict is the thread running through these 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. These large, simultaneous emergencies have taxed the international community’s ability to respond.
A Withdrawal from International Engagement
The global political shift toward nationalist populism is ratcheting up the tension. The lack of cohesive leadership in the international community by democratic nations endangers not only humanitarian responses for the enormous crises the world currently faces, but makes it more difficult to anticipate and prepare for the next. There is less will and fewer resources for international engagement, a situation that emboldens those who violate international law and human rights with impunity.
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. As more and more Western governments close their borders to refugees fleeing war, the world’s capacity for compassion seems to be shrinking. These are some of the challenges we confront in this coming year.
This list is not exhaustive so does not include some well-covered humanitarian crises, but rather draws attention to a mix of issues and regions that should merit the world’s attention and compassion in the coming year. Download the 2018 Early Warning Forecast, read it, share it with your friends on social media — and pray for all who will be affected by the humanitarian crises that are ongoing and to come.
Please read it, share it with your family and friends on social media, and pray for all who will be affected by the humanitarian crises that are ongoing and to come.