WHO in emergencies

Statement from the Emergency Committee on Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo

17 October 2018 - The meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) regarding the Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo took place on 17 October 2018.

It was the view of the Committee that a Public Health Emergency of International Concern should not be declared at this time. But the Committee remains deeply concerned by the outbreak and emphasized that response activities need to be intensified and ongoing vigilance is critical.


Protecting people from the impact of health emergencies

16 October 2018 – The Eastern Mediterranean Region bears a heavy burden: Political conflict, natural disasters, and outbreaks affecting 76 million people -- more than half of all people globally in need -- including 17 million refugees. This leads to lower basic population health indicators, such as more maternal deaths than before, and less life expectancy in many places.

Influenza: are we ready?

12 October 2018 - At the start of the flu season in the Northern hemisphere, WHO launched today an in-depth multimedia package on influenza, including the lessons we can learn from previous flu pandemics, how prepared we are for another one, and how work on seasonal flu can help countries to prepare for future pandemics.

The flu comes around every year, everywhere - and children are among some of the most vulnerable. We asked children all over the world to illustrate this spotlight on flu, which includes 5 Things To Do If You Have The Flu and 5 Ways to Avoid Getting The Flu.

International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR): 13 October 2018

Every year WHO joins with the global community in marking 13 October as the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) to raise awareness of the importance of managing risks especially to people’s health and well-being. Following the focus of recent IDDRs on reducing mortality and the number of people affected by disasters, this year’s theme focuses on reducing economic losses from disasters and the associated human costs. Economic loss and health impacts of disasters are closely connected from the personal to the global levels.

WHO helps restore primary health care services in Aleppo

11 October 2018, Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic – Thanks to a generous contribution from the Government of Japan, WHO has supported the rehabilitation of two primary health care centres in east and northwest Aleppo. The two health centres were heavily affected by intensified fighting and were forced to close in 2013, depriving thousands of local residents of basic health care services.


Internally displaced persons from Hudaydah endure harsh circumstances in Sana'a

8 October 2018 Sana'a, Yemen -- With the recent escalation of conflict in the port town of Al-Hudaydah, thousands of people were forced to flee to the capital city Sana’a to escape the insecurity and increasing poverty, malnutrition and disease outbreaks. These displaced people include Yemen’s most vulnerable: the elderly, pregnant women, people who carry the burden of chronic illnesses, and caregivers who bear the responsibility of providing for their children.

Major earthquake hits Sulawesi, Indonesia

28 September 2018 - A 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit Donggala District Central Sulawesi, Indonesia on 28 September 2018. The epicenter was 8 km northwest Donggala with the depth of 10 km.

Estimated affected population is more than 310 000 in Donggala regency, near the epicenter. Nearby major city is Palu city with maximum affected population of more than 350 000.


Outbreaks and crises

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.

What we do

From prevention through preparedness to early warning, response, and early recovery, the WHO Health Emergencies programme is operational.


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

WHO thanks all of the contributors that provide funding or in-kind contribution for WHO’s work for emergencies.


WHO coordinates the international health response to emergencies and humanitarian crises, but we cannot do this work without our partners who help us deliver health services in even the most difficult situations.

Behind the headlines

At any one time, dozens of infectious disease outbreaks are happening around the world. In this special feature, we visit a series of recent health emergencies, telling the stories behind the headlines and exploring the many different dimensions of an outbreak response.

R&D Blueprint

Illustration of lab equipment.

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.


WHO training on personal protective equipment during the Ebola outbreak in Guinea

The Director-General has established an Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme (IOAC), to provide oversight and monitoring of the development and performance of the Programme and to guide the Programme’s activities.


Each issue of the Health Emergency Highlights contains information on the current humanitarian context, the health priorities and response operations