million people worldwide will need aid assistance in 2021.
disasters triggered by natural hazards in 2019, 77% of which were climate and weather related - six times greater than in the 1970s.
thousands lives have been lost because of weather and climate related disasters in the last decade alone.
An interconnected world means disease outbreaks can now spread more quickly than ever before. Even before COVID-19, the WHO had declared five Global Health Emergencies in the past decade alone.
Outbreaks have a disastrous impact on families, societies, support systems and economies. The effects stretch beyond the lives tragically lost. Health services are unable to cope, schooling is disrupted, and every day livelihoods are put at risk. Vaccines are only part of the solution. Preparing is key.
“The world has reached a fork in the road. We cannot afford to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at the same rate and still breathe clean air. We must choose... Today and every day, we must choose health.”
– WHO Secretary General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, November 2020
Storms, floods and droughts have tripled over the past 30 years. These events cause damage, but also make existing crises worse. Communities are locked in perpetual rebuild.
Just like with COVID-19, these events are not confined to poor countries. As wildfires and floods hit rich countries, there are less resources available globally and there’s more pressure on international assistance as aid budgets are cut. The aid system is already creaking under the strain – with not enough funding, people or goods to help those in need. Urgent change is needed.
Conflict continues to be the biggest cause of humanitarian need. Aside from those injured and killed by violence, conflict means people are less able to access health services.
Those at greatest risk are those who live in refugee camps, which are vulnerable to disease outbreaks and extreme weather events. Many of those who flee conflict are the most educated, including health workers, who may never return after finding opportunities and safety abroad. This leaves the countries to face decades of hardship as they attempt to replace these skilled workers.
Not only must we act to save lives and help those in immediate need. We must continue to support countries to rebuild national health workforces.