OCHA Year in Review

OCHA coordinated humanitarian aid to support 80 million people in 37 countries in 2015. Our mandate is to coordinate the response and funding for humanitarian crises, manage information and data in emergencies, set policy and advocate on behalf of people most in need. Our teams on the ground work with affected people, Governments, UN agencies and NGOs.

The 2015 OCHA Year in Review highlights some of our work to serve people in need.



The human cost of the Syria crisis continued to escalate throughout 2015. By the end of the year, 13.5 million Syrians needed assistance. And almost half the population had been displaced, either internally or as refugees.

To support people still inside Syria, many of whom are besieged, OCHA coordinated the cross-border movement of 4,500 aid trucks from Turkey and Jordan to support millions of people with food, shelter and other essentials. OCHA leadership briefed the Security Council 12 times on Syria throughout 2015, advocating for greater protection of civilians and humanitarian access to deliver life-saving aid.


South Sudan

The suffering of the South Sudanese continued unabated one year after humanitarian leaders declared it a priority Level 3 emergency. To support the 4.6 million people in need of aid, OCHA’s network of seven deep-field offices negotiated access and coordinated humanitarian response to previously unreachable communities. OCHA advocated to the UN Security Council on behalf of women and children living with the fear of sexual violence.

OCHA South Sudan Offices



On 11 March, two days before the landfall of Category Five Tropical Cyclone Pam, the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office and OCHA Fiji coordinated humanitarian response plans. On 13 March, Pam struck, affecting over 188,000 people.

OCHA deployed a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team to support the Government of Vanuatu. The team mobilized resources, carried out assessments, gathered data and coordinated civil and military responders. Food, water, health care and shelter were provided to people in need in a coordinated response.




When a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on 25 April, OCHA’s Humanitarian Data Exchange team immediately began to verify and publish data about the emergency. The team gathered this data by partnering with international agencies and engaging with local community groups, such as the volunteer youth Scout movement. Governments and humanitarian partners used this information to prioritize aid deliveries to people in most urgent need.



The deepening conflict in Iraq prevented humanitarian actors from reaching many of the 8.7 million vulnerable people across the country. Fighting in April and May in Anbar Province displaced over 500,000 people. Newly appointed Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mr. Stephen O'Brien travelled to Iraq in June to review the situation and advocate for greater support for millions of women, men and children in need.

Ramadi map

“All the families I spoke with had heartbreaking stories of fear, flight, loss and grief. International humanitarian law obliges all those engaged in fighting to protect civilians during hostilities.”



OCHA intensified coordination and advocacy for the response to the worsening Ukraine crisis throughout the year. As part of its mandate to promote policy based on international humanitarian law, OCHA launched three studies on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in 2015—on Libya, Ukraine and Yemen. Research found that when explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 92 per cent of casualties were civilians. More than 2,500 civilians had been killed in the Ukraine conflict by July.

Ewipa Report

“The shelling was right in the centre where my apartment is. It used to look over a square, but now there’s nothing left…”


Click or tap and drag the button to the left and to the right to see the change



As the conflict in Yemen worsened throughout 2015, Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien took extra measures to intensify humanitarian support. This included declaring a Level 3 emergency, deploying a Regional Humanitarian Coordinator to liaise with Governments, and supporting the establishment of a monitoring mechanism to facilitate much-needed commercial food and fuel imports. Mr. O'Brien also visited Yemen and advocated at the UN Security Council for the needs of 21 million Yemeni people.



For World Humanitarian Day 2015, OCHA coordinated a global campaign with humanitarian partners to raise awareness of and support for global humanitarian action. Linking with the private sector creative industry, the wide-reaching #ShareHumanity campaign saw over 170,000 social media posts and potentially 2 billion views globally. OCHA coordinated advocacy events in global capitals, including at the UN in New York and Geneva, from Turkey to Mali and Myanmar, and a high-level event at the Milan World Expo.


Lake Chad Basin

Terrorism, conflict and forced displacement in the Lake Chad Basin made few headlines around the world this year. Some 2.3 million people have been forced from their homes, primarily in Nigeria, but also in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, making this Africa’s fastest-growing displacement crisis. Women have been raped and exploited, and children trafficked, abducted and forced to work as suicide bombers. OCHA held a high-level event during the 2015 General Assembly in September as part of its sustained advocacy for more support to this often-forgotten crisis.


OCHA coordinates the World Humanitarian Summit for the UN Secretary-General. In October 2015, a global event was held in Geneva, bringing over 1,000 delegates together to consider the recommendations of a comprehensive 18-month consultation process.

The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit will take place in Istanbul in May 2016. The Summit will reinspire and reinvigorate shared commitment to humanity and the universality of humanitarian principles. Global leaders from Governments, civil society and the private sector will come together to agree on a concrete set of actions and commitments to improve the humanitarian system to meet the challenges of today and the future.


El Niño

The current El Niño may prove to be the strongest on record. Tens of millions of people are affected across east and southern Africa, the Pacific, South-East Asia and Latin America. Ethiopia is experiencing its worst El Niño-related drought in 30 years, leaving 10.2 million people short of food. In 2015, OCHA raised the alarm through advocacy and worked with Governments to develop preparedness and response plans. The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) funded $76 million to support these efforts.

El Niño Impact map
El Niño


Pooled Funds

In 2015, OCHA mobilized over $800 million for pooled funds to support coordinated emergency response in 43 countries. Sixty-six donors contributed to OCHA-managed Country-Based Pooled Funds, which provide resources for a specific country, and to CERF, which provides aid rapidly to sudden-onset crises and fills response gaps in neglected and underfunded emergencies. OCHA’s Under-Secretary-General manages CERF.

~ Is this map upside down? ~

Donors & Recipients


Global Humanitarian Overview

Millions of people targeted per year

Over the last 10 years, the number of people who need humanitarian assistance has increased by 237 per cent.

Funded in billions US$

Unfunded in billions US$

Since 2004, the funding needed to respond has increased by 490 per cent due to increased civil conflict. By contrast, OCHA’s budget has increased by only 281 per cent. The global humanitarian community is being asked to continually do more with less.

GHO 2016 report

Funding for OCHA’s work is provided by United Nations Member States. We also receive financial support from corporations and individuals.

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