World Humanitarian Data and Trends (WHDT) 2018 highlights major trends in the nature of humanitarian crises, their causes and drivers. This year’s report includes case studies on the evolution of protracted crises, attacks on health care, attacks on education, water and conflict, and strengthening local action through country-based pooled funds.

Protracted crises

Humanitarian crises are increasing in number and in duration. Between 2005 and 2017, the average length of crises with an active inter-agency appeal rose from four to seven years, while the number of active crises receiving an internationally-led response almost doubled from 16 to 30. The majority of people targeted receive assistance for five years or more (nearly 60 per cent). Since 2015, appeals for crises lasting five years or longer have spiked and now command most funding received and requested (80 per cent). These trends emphasize the need for closer collaboration between humanitarian and development actors to decrease vulnerability in the long term.

Number of Inter-agency appeals & average length of crises (YEARS)

Funding received by appeal length (US $ million)

Funding requested by appeal length (US $ million)

People targeted by appeal length (million)

Crises by number of cumulative appeals

Data runs until 2016, which is the most recent year for which complete data was available at the time of publication. To find out more details about each crisis, click on the country name.

Number of Cumulative Appeals

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To find out more about the state of current crises, visit Humanitarian Insights (

Impact of protracted crises

Protracted crises, often driven by intractable conflict, have consequences that affect entire communities and put basic services in jeopardy. International humanitarian law prohibits the targeting of civilian objects, emphasizing the importance of schools and hospitals to the civilian population, especially children. However, these facilities continue to be targeted during conflicts.

Attack on education
Attack on education: Young students play in the ruins of the Aal Okab school

Yemen: Young students play in the ruins of the Aal Okab school, destroyed in June 2015.

Opportunities for improving action

In the face of protracted crises, humanitarians are moving towards working closer together with development and other partners, to address root causes of vulnerability.

Nigeria: Construction of 700 shelters for IDPs in Pulka, with support from the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund.

Strengthening local action through
country-based pooled funds

CBPFs play a valuable role in supporting the localization of humanitarian assistance and aid delivery by directing funding to national NGOs that may have more familiarity with on-the-ground conditions. In 2017, CBPFs funded 1,288 projects implemented by 657 partners. Allocations to local partners have generally increased. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the share of funding to national NGOs rose from 21 per cent in 2016 to 38 per cent in 2017. However, overall contributions to CBPFs still fall short of the target set under the Grand Bargain, which envisions 15 per cent of humanitarian requirements to be channelled through CBPFs. Reaching this target would allow CBPFs to be even more effective in distributing funds to the best-placed responder.

Using Artificial Intelligence to
Track Displacement

The global picture on internal displacement is currently incomplete. Not all incidents of internal displacement are reported and only some of the figures can be verified. New tools are emerging to bolster collection and verification efforts.One example is the Internal Displacement Event Tagging and Clustering Tool (IDETECT) – this tool mines huge news data sets, and through natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, it classifies reports by type of displacement, while also extracting information about location and the number of people displaced in real time.

Nigeria: internally displaced people at Wege Arrival Camp (Pulka Transit Camp)

The timelines below illustrate the flow of displacement facts captured through IDETECT, validated and cross-checked against events that took place in Nigeria through 2017.

Timeline Image

Read full figure here (PDF)

To find out more about the current humanitarian response in Nigeria, visit Humanitarian Insights


World Humanitarian Data and Trends is just one part of OCHA's efforts to improve data and analysis on humanitarian situations worldwide and build a humanitarian data community.

Read the Report (PDF)


Global Landscape

Past Reports