WHO in emergencies

WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean hands-over medical supplies during his visit to Syria

24 October 2020, Damascus, Syria – A chartered aircraft has landed in Damascus International Airport from the WHO's logistics hub in Dubai, carrying WHO supplies to support the health response in Syria. The 8.8-ton shipment includes medical kits and medicines for almost 2000 beneficiaries and enough personal protective equipment to protect more than 4000 health care workers.

WHO/Syrian Arab Republic

WHO appoints co-chairs of Independent Commission on sexual misconduct during the Ebola response in North Kivu and Ituri, the Democratic Republic of the Congo

15 October 2020 -- The World Health Organization has appointed two distinguished leaders to co-chair an Independent Commission on sexual abuse and exploitation during the response to the tenth Ebola Virus Disease epidemic in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Africa eradicates wild poliovirus

25 August 2020 Brazzaville – The independent Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for Polio Eradication officially declared on Tuesday that the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region is free of wild poliovirus.
This marks the eradication of the second virus from the face of the continent since smallpox 40 years ago.
The ARCC’s decision comes after an exhaustive, decades-long process of documentation and analysis of polio surveillance, immunization and laboratory capacity of the region’s 47 member states, which included conducting field verification visits to each country.

Democratic Republic of the Congo Ebola cases rise, surpass previous outbreak

Ebola outbreak in western Democratic Republic of the Congo reaches 100 cases

21 August 2020 Brazzaville - The number of cases in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in western Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has reached 100, a near two-fold increase in a little over five weeks.
This latest outbreak, DRC’s 11th, was declared on 1 June 2020 in Equateur Province. A cluster of cases was initially detected in Mbandaka, the provincial capital. The outbreak has since spread to 11 of the province’s 17 health zones. Of the 100 cases reported so far, 96 are confirmed and four are probable. Forty-three people have lost their lives.

WHO/Democratic Republic of the Congo

Lebanon explosion

12 August 2020 – WHO has issued an appeal for US$ 76 million and ask for the solidarity and support of the international community to the people of Lebanon. WHO has seen regional and global solidarity, as countries sent in supplies, deployed emergency response teams, and pledged financial support.

To meet immediate needs, within 24 hours after the blast, WHO distributed trauma and surgical supplies for the needs of 2000 patients. Yesterday, and today, we also shipped almost 25 tonnes of PPE items to support COVID-19 efforts and replace humanitarian supplies that were destroyed by the blast.

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.


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