WHO in emergencies

UN leaders appeal for immediate lifting of humanitarian blockade in Yemen – lives of millions are at risk

16 November 2017 -- Together, we issue another urgent appeal for the coalition to permit entry of lifesaving supplies to Yemen in response to what is now the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The supplies, which include medicines, vaccines and food, are essential to staving off disease and starvation. Without them, untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die.

Madagascar plague: mitigating the risk of regional spread

2 November 2017 – More than 1800 suspected, probable, or confirmed plague cases were reported in Madagascar from August to late October 2017, resulting in 127 deaths. WHO has moved quickly in response to this unusually severe outbreak by supporting the Government of Madagascar, while at the same time working with nearby countries and territories to prevent regional spread.


WHO reinforces health care services for thousands of people in newly accessible areas of Ar-Raqqa governorate, Syria Arab Republic

25 October 2017 - As areas in Ar-Raqqa governorate become accessible, the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to strengthen health care services for thousands of people in the area through the delivery of medicines and medical supplies to Al-Tabqa National Hospital, northwest of Ar-Raqqa city.

WHO supports containment of rare virus on Uganda-Kenya border

20 October 2017 - WHO is working to contain an outbreak of Marburg virus disease (MVD) that has appeared in eastern Uganda on the border with Kenya. Marburg virus disease is a rare disease with a high mortality rate for which there is no specific treatment.

Oral cholera vaccination campaign kicks off at Rohingya camps in Bangladesh

10 October 2017 - A massive cholera immunization campaign started today near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to protect newly arrived Rohingya and host communities from the life-threatening diarrheal disease. More than 200 vaccination teams will immunize 900 000 people.

WHO Bangladesh

WHO provides 1.2 million antibiotics to fight plague in Madagascar

6 October 2017 - WHO has delivered nearly 1.2 million doses of antibiotics and released US$1.5 million dollars in emergency funds to fight plague in Madagascar. The outbreak has spread to the capital and port towns, infecting more than 100 people in just a few weeks. Plague can be cured using common antibiotics if delivered early. Antibiotics can also help prevent infection among people who have been exposed to plague.

MERS-CoV  map

Countries agree next steps to combat global health threat by MERS-CoV

27 September 2017 -- Critical next steps to accelerate the response to the global public health threat posed by MERS-CoV have been agreed by representatives from the Ministries of Health and Ministries of Agriculture of affected and at risk countries, and experts. The virus, which circulates in dromedary camels without causing visible disease, can be fatal for humans.


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:


Plague is cause by a bacteria usually found in small mammals and their fleas.



Since 25 August more than 500,000 people are estimated to have crossed from Myanmar to Bangladesh following violence in Rakhine state, Myanmar. WHO and partners launched a cholera immunization campaign to protect newly arrived Rohingya and host communities from the life-threatening diarrheal disease.


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.

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

Syrian Arab Republic crisis

WHO continues to support health care services for people in need, especially those living in besieged areas. WHO focuses on lifesaving health care, while vigorously calling on all parties to allow for the immediate and safe evacuation of the sick and wounded.


Yemen crisis

The escalating conflict has put pressure on the health system and the vulnerable population seeking health care. WHO and health partners have provided over 750 million tons of essential medicines and equipment and deployed 50 mobile teams and 20 fixed facility teams to 11 governorates.


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.


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.


Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

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.

Post-emergency and recovery

Yellow fever vaccination, Sudan
WHO/C. Banluta

WHO supports countries through the recovery stage of an outbreak or crisis situation to maintain and rebuild 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.