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Manmade
Disasters

Syria, Yemen, Colombia-Venezuela, Somalia, South Sudan, Burundi, DRC and now Ukraine are among the countries and regions torn by conflict or economic and social turmoil, creating one of the worst global crises of mass migration and refugees since World War II.

War in Ukraine. Families caught in the violence. We are responding.
People cross the border between Colombia and Venezuela at the border town of Paraguachon, in La Guajira, passing by illegal shortcuts to avoid passports' controls and the toll's payment. Local Wayuu indigenous children charge a few Bolivares (Venezuelan currency) or a few Colombian pesos to let the cars cross the line. Americares responds to people’s needs in town by offering them basic medical aids in a recovered area of the old hospital of Maicao, La Guajira, Colombia, on July 5th, 2018. Children and pregnant mother receive the attention first. Since 2015 Venezuelans' mass migration to Colombia progressively increased. After crossing the border migrants start a long path, often by walk and lasting over three months, to Peru, Chile and Brazil in search of a new life and job opportunities, fleeing their country as President Nicolas Maduro consolidates autocratic power and food and medicine run out due to corruption. Americares is working on the health emergency response. Photographer: Nicolo Filippo Rosso/Americares

Manmade Disasters: Civil Conflict and Social Instability

We all know what devastation more than years of vicious conflict has done to Syria, and 4 years of strife in Yemen has unleashed an unprecedented humanitarian disaster of mass starvation and disease. Other countries in the region have also experienced internal turmoil; in the DRC, conflict collided with an outbreak of Ebola that threatens to spread beyond country borders. Along the Colombia border with Venezuela, social and economic instability in Venezuela has created a crisis of families crossing the border to seek health care. And now in Ukraine, an invasion of the country by Russian armed forces threatens to create a scale of conflict, death and suffering not seen in Europe since World War II. The massive displacement and migration of civilians and the complexity of operating medical relief in insecure environments makes this kind of emergency one of the most difficult to manage. In refugee camps and in the movement of people, the living conditions, especially for children, the elderly and people with health problems creates the environment for the spread of potentially deadly disease and deprives people of even basic health care. Add the malnutrition and mental health problems that are part of the forced displacement of entire communities, and health care becomes one of the first needs and first casualties. Currently the United Nations estimates there are 100 million people around the world who have been forcibly displaced by violence and other disasters.

Manmade Complex Threats

The human contribution to disaster ranges from war or economic/social crisis to poor land and water management contributing to drought and subsequent collapse of the food supply.

graphic icon of a target

Threat:

The targeting of health workers and facilities by combatants.

Response:

Finding ways to support health operations while not putting local health workers at greater risk. Keeping health workers safe is top priority. (e.g. health care partners in Syria or Yemen).

Landing Hurricanes Icon

Threat:

Large flows of refugees or internally displaced persons – often traumatized families – that overwhelm host communities.

Response:

Rapid aid to strengthen health services in the community and adding other support programs such as mental health (e.g. Jordan).

graphic icon for injuries of a person with a shoulder sling

Threat:

Civilian injuries from violence in insecure environments where health services are limited.

Response:

Medicine and supply shipments to local or NGO health care partners who are providing emergency care in the field or in local facilities

graphic icon of a water spout

Threat:

Complex emergencies that come with destruction of infrastructure and dislocation of population lead to outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and other water borne diseases.

Response:

Supporting and organizing sanitation and education efforts to limit disease outbreaks while providing medicine and supplies to treat those infected.

Prepare icon with an etched path

Threat:

With major dislocation of population, the establishment of makeshift camps without services or support.

Response:

Assessing and meeting critical needs such as sanitation, safe water and basic health care.

graphic icon for injuries of a person with a shoulder sling

Threat:

The trauma from mass displacement of families driven from their homes by conflict.

Response:

Immediate access to humanitarian aid, basic health care and mental health support services.

The targeting of health facilities and workers in war zones makes the crisis more acute.

Graphic showing the interconnection between Ready, Respond, and Recovery icons.

The Ready Cycle Plans for the Worst

Emergency programs at Americares represent a continuous cycle of Ready, Respond, Recover and then get Ready again, only better. Each disaster presents a new set of challenges to lay the foundation for a better response the next time around.  It is a dynamic process, ever changing as more extreme weather and unforeseen manmade crises arise – always demanding that we increase our knowledge and capabilities. In that work, we are ever mindful and incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of our donors and the presence of local partners who have the ground sense and skill necessary to meet the challenges and often only lack resources to prepare for them.

Providing health care in an unstable region is dangerous and complex. To do it at all, we rely on our partners and you to stand with us. Donate now.

Manmade Crises and Complex Emergencies

AnCivil conflict and ongoing social turmoil such as Syria,
Yemen and Colombia-Venezuela present serious challenges to humanitarian aid.

Active Emergency

Syria Conflict

Years of deadly conflict in Syria have created an enormous humanitarian crisis. Americares has been supporting health care services in the region since 2012, in Syria and in neighboring countries hosting refugees.

Activity Recovery

Health and Hunger Crisis

Americares has been providing treatment for tens of thousands of children and adults suffering from malnutrition and the world’s worst cholera outbreak in Yemen and Somalia.

Americares is providing basic health care near the Colombia-Venezuela border for people caught in the economic and social turmoil in Venezuela.

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