Somalia, Ethiopia and Afghanistan tops IRC’s emergency watchlist 2023


The International Rescue Committee (IRC) released its annual Emergency Watchlist, highlighting the 20 countries most at risk of deteriorating humanitarian crises in 2023.
This year, Somalia, Ethiopia and Afghanistan top the Watchlist, as East Africa faces the worst drought in decades and economic turmoil continues to compound needs in Afghanistan.
With over a third of a billion people in humanitarian need around the world and 100 million people displaced, IRC expert analysis clearly shows that the guardrails designed to prevent humanitarian crises from spiraling out of control – from diplomatic agreements and law-of-war tribunals to climate early warning systems and humanitarian aid itself – are being dismantled. Beyond the individual crises to watch, the report dives deep into the three major accelerators of humanitarian crises – armed conflict, climate change, and economic turmoil – and highlights what can be done to rebuild guardrails against a runaway world.
David Miliband, President and CEO of the IRC said, “the Emergency Watchlist shows record levels of humanitarian need in 2022 and real peril ahead for 2023. A year ago we diagnosed a global ‘System Failure’ – deficits in respect of state actions, diplomacy, legal rights and humanitarian operations that are driving the increased numbers of people in humanitarian need. Yet humanitarian need, forced displacement and food insecurity have all worsened since then. This system failure can be seen in this year’s figures: humanitarian need has jumped by 65 million people since last year, displacement has ballooned to over 100 million people.”
He further added “in this year’s Watchlist, we address the spiraling humanitarian need at ground level. The evidence we present shows that the guardrails that protect people from humanitarian catastrophe are being weakened in fragile and conflict states around the world. These guardrails are local, national and international systems designed to limit the impact of humanitarian crises on affected communities and to prevent crises from spiraling out of control. But the scale and nature of conflict, climate change and economic turmoil left unchecked in too many places is over-loading these systems. One need only look to the war in Ukraine to understand the impact of the unraveling of global guardrails against conflict, and the close association with humanitarian crises.”