There are more than 110 armed conflicts taking place around the world today. Due to regional wars, foreign interventions, devastating attacks on civilians and other reasons, 14% of the world’s population is affected by conflict; as the violence encircles civilian populations, conflict is directly responsible for damaging important infrastructure, dirtying food and water supplies, and contributing to extreme poverty.

Conflict breeds humanitarian crisis. Violence and political instability disrupt every facet of society, creating a harmful cycle where people are unable to have their basic needs met. People lose access to nutritious food, clean water, healthcare, education, and other fundamentals that people need to prosper. 

Further, armed conflict makes it impossible for people to stay in their homes, leading to widespread displacement that can overwhelm nearby countries and restrict their ability to support refugees.

As a result of current conflicts, the world’s largest refugee crisis is underway, with an estimated 114 million people displaced worldwide due to conflict, persecution, and human rights violations.

Without intervention, these numbers are likely to grow. As Global Citizens, it is our responsibility to prevent communities in need from being forgotten—we must take action.

Read on for an overview of how conflict has caused eight of the world’s most widespread humanitarian crises, as well as what actions you can take NOW to support those on the frontlines.

Crisis 1: Over 23M People Are Facing Food Insecurity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been caught in the middle of conflict for over a decade, with communities in the eastern part of the country facing the worst effects. Violent clashes have forced over 7M civilians to leave their homes.

This year, violence has increased, and humanitarian organizations are warning of instances where civilians are being killed en masse. 

Skirmishes across the country are disrupting important transportation routes, impacting aid groups’ abilities to reach civilians in need. As food and water sources are destroyed by violence, 23M people are food insecure, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).

In addition, women and girls across the country spend their days calculating whether going out to find food is worth the potential of being harassed or assaulted; over a period of nine months last year, over 46,000 cases of gender-based violence in the DRC were reported.

Crisis 2: More Than 15.3M People Require Food and Humanitarian Aid in Syria

Due to more than a decade of conflict, the people in Syria are living through one of the world’s longest humanitarian crises. Over 12M Syrians have been forced to flee their homes, seeking refuge in neighboring countries and beyond and straining resources as aid agencies attempt to meet everyone’s basic needs.

The Syrian civil war has been ongoing since the eruption of the Arab spring, when protests led to a series of conflicts. The prolonged fighting has devastated cities, destroyed infrastructure, and crippled Syria’s economy, forcing half of the country’s pre-war population to live elsewhere.

In a nation where conflict is commonplace, extreme poverty may be the only reality that millions of Syrians are used to; in fact, 90% of the population lives below the poverty line.

As the lingering effects of COVID-19 and the region's deadly earthquake last year continue to batter the population, the UN estimates that $9 billion is needed to provide enough humanitarian aid to meet the needs of 16.7 million Syrians.

Crisis 3: Yemen’s Internal Conflict Has Damaged Every Aspect of the Country’s Infrastructure

For the past 10 years, an intense civil war has shaken Yemen, causing more than 21.6 million people to need humanitarian assistance.

The conflict has destroyed Yemen's infrastructure of hospitals, schools, and water systems, as well as severely disrupted the economy, leading almost 83% of the population to live in poverty. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) warns of a prolonged food crisis, where 17M people are experiencing emergency levels of food insecurity, including 2.2 million malnourished children.

Blockades within the country and throughout the Red Sea have disrupted some of the region’s most important shipping routes, hampering aid efforts. According to the UK government, over 70% of food staples are imported through the Red Sea, with blockades worsening hunger levels for millions of Yemenis.

Crisis 4: In-Country Fighting Is Leading Millions in Burkina Faso to Flee Their Homes

Ongoing clashes are increasingly affecting large regions of Burkina Faso, putting civilians in the middle of conflict. Since 2019, more than 2M people have been living in areas under siege and reporting daily threats of violence.

Attacks led over 237,000 people to flee their homes in 2021, with the total number of refugees from Burkina Faso rising consistently over the years. Today, more than 2.1 million people are displaced, with thousands fleeing to neighboring Mali throughout the first half of 2024.

As the central government works to reclaim territory from non-state armed groups, funding for the country’s basic services is severely lacking. More than 40% of the population lives below the national poverty line; rebel-controlled blockades are preventing life-saving resources from reaching those most affected by the violence.

In addition, climate change is making food security in the conflict-ridden country worse. The year’s low rainfall, in addition to an intense heatwave in the Sahel region of Africa, caused poor harvests and killed livestock, further limiting the strapped food supply that cannot meet the country’s food needs.

Crisis 5: A Civil War Is Causing 25M People Across Sudan and South Sudan to Require Humanitarian Assistance

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but both countries have remained linked in the years following. As a civil war enters its second year in Sudan, continuing violence between factions in South Sudan are compounding a catastrophic humanitarian situation in which an estimated 6M people are displaced in total from both countries.

Reports of mass killings and ethnic cleansing have made life in Sudan a daily gamble. The use of deadly explosives during these clashes, as well as widespread impunity, are responsible for the civilian toll of conflict. In Sudan, at least 15,550 people have been killed in the past year of the civil war; in South Sudan, hundreds of people were murdered last year during instances of violence against civilians.

Those numbers are in addition to the high rates of gender-based violence and harassment that has been targeting women and girls in both countries throughout their respective conflicts.

As a result, 7.1M people in South Sudan are projected to experience crisis or worse levels of food insecurity this year; a third of Sudan’s 49M people are reported to face high levels of acute food insecurity. Agriculture has been severely disrupted by the violence, limiting opportunities for civilians to grow and sell their own food.

While the situation is currently at catastrophe levels, it’s only projected to get worse if humanitarian aid is not sustained.

Crisis 6: People in Gaza Are Facing Famine After Months of Conflict

On October 7, 2023, the terrorist organization Hamas killed over 1,200 Israelis, and over 240 more were taken hostage. Since then, the ensuing conflict has resulted in mass destruction, including the estimated deaths of more than tens of thousands of  Palestinians in Gaza.

In addition to the loss of homes, livelihoods, and lives, survivors of the conflict are experiencing a precarious humanitarian crisis in which precious food aid rarely makes it into people’s hands.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), famine is imminent for 1.1 million people in Gaza who are experiencing severe levels of food insecurity. Aid organizations have had a hard time getting supplies to people in Gaza; there have been incredible losses of education access for children, and disproportionate exposure to violence for women and girls, and limited medical supplies for the entire population.

Crisis 7: Over 3.7M People Are Internally Displaced in Ukraine

Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has led to the largest forced migration in Europe since World War II, with 3.7 million Ukranians becoming internally-displaced and 6.5 million becoming refugees in other countries. After two years of fighting, the prevalence of conflict has destroyed lives and livelihoods across Ukraine.

As Ukrainian men aged between 25 and 60 years old are drafted into the country’s battle with Russia, the families they leave behind scrounge for food and clean water sources that haven’t been destroyed by war. Known as the breadbasket of Europe, Ukraine’s valuable wheat crops are consistently threatened by the fighting, destabilizing food production around the world as well as food sources within the country.

In addition, Russia’s coordinated destruction of hospitals have made it difficult to continue serving the civilian population through injury and illness, particularly as missile strikes further threaten the country’s fragile infrastructure.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that 14.6 million people are in need of humanitarian aid.

In terms of gender-based violence, any woman in transit is reportedly at greater risk of experiencing sexual exploitation and abuse. Additionally, conflict-induced stress is reported to increase rates of domestic violence; according to recent data from the Ukrainian National Police, registered cases of domestic violence increased by 51% in 2023 compared to 2022.

Crisis 8: Half of Afghanistan’s Population Will Require Humanitarian Assistance This Year

Forty years of conflict has completely shaped the daily lives and experiences of Afghanistan’s 41 million people. As the Taliban took over the country’s governance in 2021, an already-alarming humanitarian crisis was exacerbated.

The UN reports that 30.6 million Afghans are in need of urgent humanitarian aid, which will cover each one of the sustainable development goal areas.

Many essential services lost funding since the Taliban’s takeover as skilled laborers fled and foreign groups dropped investments in the country. The WFP has been a consistent presence in Afghanistan for decades, supplying school meals and working to ensure that every person can access a consistent food source; as a result of conflict, however, WFP reports that 1 in 3 Afghans do not know where their next meal 

How Global Citizens Can Help

The sheer scale of today’s current humanitarian crises can feel overwhelming. Our continued advocacy, voices, and actions can mean the difference between life or death for many conflict-battered communities.

Every day, Global Citizens do their part by taking action to demand world leaders prioritize humanitarian aid to regions of the world that need it most. To join the movement, here’s a list of accessible actions you can take right now to help those living in conflict-affected areas:

Support Education Cannot Wait

Amplify the voices of children who are experiencing conflict and missing school as a result, in support of Education Cannot Wait (ECW), an organization that is at the forefront of this fight, working tirelessly to ensure that crisis-impacted children receive the education they desperately need. Click here to take action.

Support the World Health Organization

Under the desperate conditions of conflict, the World Health Foundation has delivered vital supplies and treated over half a million people in Gaza and other war-torn areas. Recently, they brought fuel, beds, and medical supplies to the hardest-hit areas of the Middle East conflict, expanding lifesaving services. You can help. Share the WHO Gaza appeal now. Raise awareness, drive donations, and support the heroes on the ground. Click here to take action.

Raising Aid Funds for the People of Sudan

Despite the horrifying reports, Sudan has only received 12% of the $2.7 billion funds needed to support those most in need. You can call on leaders and call for increased aid funding for the people of Sudan. Click here to take action.

Call for Increased Foreign Aid

When countries receive less aid than they need, it can lead to a humanitarian crisis when people are no longer able to access basic needs like food, water, and healthcare. Governments need to prioritize increasing their ODA budgets to meet the internationally agreed target of .7% of GNI. Click here to take action.

You can also make a difference by directly giving to the aid groups that are working in many of the regions listed above. Your donation can go toward funding cash transfers, providing food aid, and supporting critical infrastructure, which build up communities and make them self-sustaining in times of conflict.

If you’re able to give, consider donating to these incredible organizations below:

Donate to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to help refugees meet their basic needs in times of conflict.


Defeat Poverty

Conflict Is Fueling These 8 Humanitarian Crises Around the World — Here’s How You Can Help