WHO in emergencies

Boy transports water bottles in a wheelbarrow, Yemen.

Number of suspected cholera cases reaches 100 000 in Yemen

8 June 2017 -- The number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen continues to rise, reaching 101 820 with 791 deaths as of 7 June 2017. Worst affected are the country’s most vulnerable: children under the age of 15 years account for 46% of cases, and those aged over 60 years represent 33% of fatalities. WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are honing in on areas reporting the highest number of cases to stop the disease from spreading further.


WHO trains Syrian doctors and nurses to provide health care in Turkey

19 June 2017 – More than 3 million Syrian refugees are now living in Turkey – the country with the highest number of refugees in the world. A new law now allows Syrian health professionals to enter the health workforce in Turkey. WHO and the Public Health Institution of Turkey created a training for Syrian health workers living Turkey. This programme focuses on integrating Syrian professionals into the health system and ensuring that Syrian refugees can receive health care without encountering language or cultural barriers.


WHO responds to health needs of South Sudanese refugees

13 June 2017 - Increasing numbers of South Sudanese men, women and children fleeing conflict and food insecurity are seeking refuge in Sudan, overstretching basic services, including health services. WHO supports national health authorities and works with partners to respond to the needs of these refugees and to ensure they are protected against life-threatening diseases.


Innovating disease detection in South Sudan

8 June 2017 - In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, WHO has rolled out electronic surveillance called Early Warning, Alert and Response System to enhance the collection, management and analysis of disease outbreaks. The system is designed for real-time information sharing using mobile phones and triggers automated alerts when disease thresholds are exceeded and are received by email, on the phone and within the application.

WHO/C. Haskew

Sierra Leone one year on

9 June 2017 -- Today, Sierra Leone marks the one year anniversary of the end of the Ebola outbreak. The country is working to build back stronger, more resilient health systems, after the worst Ebola outbreak in history. This photo story shows how WHO-supported mothers' groups are playing an important role in bringing women and their families back to health services and clinics.

A mobile lab in Likati Health Zone, where the current outbreak of Ebola is occuring. This type of laboratory safely allows outbreak response teams to rapidly test suspected cases onsite.

New technology for rapid diagnosis in Democratic Republic of the Congo

27 May 2017 - Laboratory testing of samples is essential to rapidly assess the scope and spread of any Ebola outbreak. Since the major outbreak in West Africa in 2014, an increasing number of diagnostic tools have become available to perform rapid initial testing of samples. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is using these new tools, as well as classic ones, to respond to an ongoing outbreak of the virus in a very remote area of the north east of the country.

WHO/J. Polonsky

Where we work

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. Grading is an internal WHO process that is conducted to inform the Organization of the extent, complexity and duration of required support, prompt all WHO offices at all levels to be ready to repurpose resources and trigger WHO’s Emergency Response Procedures and emergency policies.

How we work

WHO team provides health services in north-eastern Nigeria
WHO/P. Ajello

From prevention through preparedness to early warning, response, and early recovery, the WHO Health Emergencies programme represents a fundamental change for WHO, complementing its traditional technical and normative capacities with new operational capabilities.


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

WHO would like to thank all of the contributors that provide funding or in-kind contribution for WHO’s work for emergencies. More information about funding requirements and contributions:


Food insecurity and famine

Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan and the food security situation is of grave concern in 7 other countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, and Yemen. Health is a key component in the response to famine.


Iraq crisis

Iraq’s health system is faltering because of the conflict, displacement and disease outbreaks. WHO is leading the response to provide emergency health access people affected by the crises. Health cluster partners have been coordinated, mobilized and supported with critical pharmaceuticals to sustain the response in the country.

Nigeria crisis

Humanitarian crisis in Nigeria

WHO is scaling up an emergency response to assess and respond to the health needs of thousands of people in north eastern Nigeria, formerly held by militant insurgency groups. More than half of the health facilities in Borno State, the area most severely affected, are not functioning.

South Sudan

South Sudan crisis

WHO is leading the response to provide emergency health access to victims of the clashes. Health cluster partners have been coordinated, mobilized and provided support with critical pharmaceuticals to sustain the response in the country.

Syrian Arab Republic

Crisis in Syrian Arab Republic

WHO continues to support health care services for people in need, especially those living in besieged areas. WHO has continued to focus on lifesaving health interventions while vigorously calling on all parties to the conflict to allow for the immediate and safe evacuation of the sick and wounded from all areas affected by the conflict, including eastern Aleppo. The Organization is also calling for a halt of attacks on health care workers and facilities.


Yemen crisis

The escalating conflict, in which an estimated 21.1 million people have been affected, has put more pressure on the health system and the vulnerable population seeking health care. Among many other things, WHO and health partners have provided over 750 million tons of essential medicines and equipment for an estimated 3 million beneficiaries and deployed 50 mobile teams and 20 fixed facility teams to 11 governorates.

Zika virus

Zika virus and complications

WHO is working with countries in mobilizing and coordinating experts and resources to enhance surveillance of Zika virus and disorders that could be linked to it, to improve vector control, to effectively communicate risks, to provide medical care, to fast-track research and development of vaccines and diagnostics.


Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

WHO is working with clinicians and scientists in affected countries to gather and share scientific evidence to better understand the virus and the disease it causes, and to determine outbreak response priorities, treatment strategies, and clinical management approaches.

Ebola in DRC

2017 Ebola outbreak in DRC

WHO and partners are supporting the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in all aspects of the response to recent Ebola cases. The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network has been activated to provide additional support. Strengthening of surveillance and investigation, including contact tracing are ongoing. The need and feasibility of potential Ebola ring vaccination is being discussed.

Post-emergency and recovery

Yellow fever vaccination, Sudan
WHO/C. Banluta

WHO continues to work with the partners through the recovery stage long after an outbreak, crisis, or other emergency has ended. WHO supports countries to maintain and rebuild their health services, which may have suffered as a result of the emergency.

R&D Blueprint

A research and development Blueprint for action to prevent epidemics

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.