Crisis watch

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As well as responding to large-scale conflicts like the Syria crisis or natural disasters like the earthquakes in Nepal, we also respond to approximately 30 smaller emergencies every year. Often these crises receive little or no media attention, but our emergency teams are among the first to arrive on the scene, and stay on to help people rebuild their lives.

Earthquake in Ecuador

CARE staff beside rubble from the earthquake, Esmaraldas, Ecuador
CARE staff beside an earthquake-damaged building in Esmeraldas province, Ecuador

A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador on 16 April 2016.

CARE staff in Ecuador say this is the largest disaster they’ve ever experienced. It’s the worst earthquake to hit the country since a magnitude 6.8 tremor in 1987. As at 27 April, 659 people are confirmed dead, 40 are missing, with 4,605 people injured. Buildings and infrastructure have been destroyed or damaged, and more than 29,000 people are living in temporary shelters. The coastal province of Manabi was hardest hit.

An estimated 720,000 people have been affected by the earthquake and many of them will need basic life-saving assistance such as food, water and shelter. People are also in need of mosquito nets, mosquito spray and other hygiene items for disease prevention and health promotion. We also know from previous natural disasters like the Haiti earthquake (2010) and Nepal earthquake (2015) that it can take many years for communities to recover. Affected communities will likely need long-term support.

El Niño

A mother walks for miles to collect water in drought affected area of Ethiopia
A mother walks for miles to collect water in a drought-affected area of Ethiopia

The most powerful El Niño on record has caused the worst drought for decades and successive failed harvests in parts of East Africa, Southern Africa, the Pacific Islands, South East Asia and Central America.

El Niño impacts weather systems around the globe so that some places receive more rain while others receive none at all. Some areas get colder, others get warmer, with more extremes all round. Severe droughts and floods have ruined harvests, and left nearly 100 million people in southern Africa, Asia and Latin America facing food and water shortages. The UN has predicted that over 60 million people will be affected by El Niño this year, with some countries facing increased food insecurity due to low crop yields and rising prices; higher malnutrition rates; devastated livelihoods; and forced displacement.

So far, CARE has provided food, water and other emergency relief to more than 1.1 million people in eight countries: Ethiopia, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, India, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. We are planning to scale up our assistance in several other countries.​


Tents at Gagamari village
Gagamari is a small village about 12km from the Nigerian border where many refugees are now living, mostly under tarps or straw huts

More than 150,000 refugees, fleeing insecurity and violence in northern Nigeria, are now living in the Diffa region of Niger

The conflict in northern Nigeria is causing a regional humanitarian crisis. Nigerians are fleeing to Diffa, an area already suffering from chronic food insecurity with over half of the population of 600,000 people in need of support, including 110,000 people who are severely food insecure. Across Niger, 3.6 million people in Niger are at risk of food insecurity. Nearly 100,000 severely malnourished children have been admitted to therapeutic feeding centres nationwide since the beginning of the year. The influx of refugees and returnees has made it even more difficult to share the scarce resources. About 80% of the displaced are women and children.

CARE has been working in Diffa for many years. We were one of a handful of agencies working in the region when the crisis escalated towards the end of 2014. Our teams are distributing food, drinking water, hygiene kits, household supplies and cash grants to vulnerable people. So far, we’ve helped 72,000 people since August 2014 and are scaling up our response to meet the growing needs.


Displaced Somali woman
A displaced Somali woman

More than three million Somalis face severe food shortage.

Extreme weather conditions and ongoing conflict have brought Somalia to the brink of collapse. Women in Somalia face the second highest risk of maternal death in the world and babies are at the highest risk of dying on the day they are born. 1 in 7 children are acutely malnourished while just 30% of the population has access to clean drinking water and fewer than 1 in 4 have access to adequate sanitation facilities.

CARE has an emergency and development programme in north and south Somalia which focuses on supporting internally displaced people and vulnerable host populations in three main areas: food security, water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, and nutrition. We've directly helped over 69,000 people so far.

Central African Republic

Refugee children from CAR eating together at one of CARE’s child-friendly spaces in Dosseye refugee camp, Southern Chad
Refugee children from CAR eating together at one of CARE’s child-friendly spaces in Dosseye refugee camp, Southern Chad

The conflict in CAR has displaced 900,000 civilians.

The political crisis and subsequent conflict has affected nearly the entire population and has left over half of it (over 2.5 million people) in dire need of assistance. Over 450,000 people have fled the country with almost as many internally displaced. 

CARE is supporting refugees who have fled into neighbouring Cameroon and Chad where we are constructing safe water points and latrines as well as providing psychosocial support.