In 2023, UNHCR responded to 43 emergencies in 29 different countries

When a crisis hits, UNHCR is there to help, even in the most remote – and sometimes dangerous – places.


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Mother of eight, Humaira, received a tent and emergency items in a distribution supported by UNHCR and its partner ARAA (Ansari Rehabilitation for Afghanistan) In Rubat Perzada village, Injil district. © UNHCR/Caroline Gluck

Last year we witnessed the highest number of emergencies in years, and with the support of our donors, UNHCR was able to dispatch swift emergency aid to up to 16.7 million people around the world.

A new report, Emergency Preparedness and Response 2023, highlights how UNHCR responded to the multiple crises around the world with lifesaving aid.

Noor Ibrahim Isak harvests sesame with his son, Hussein Noor Ibrahim at Kobe agricultural farm for the refugees and the host community in Kobe, Somali region of Ethiopia. Noor fled Somalia in 2011 with his family due to drought and conflict and crossed to Kobe in Somali region of Ethiopia. © UNHCR/Tiksa Negeri

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Lili, 35 arrived as a refugee to Armenia together with her two sons Sasin, 14, and Eduard, 7, and their sister. They now live in a collective center in Goris, provided by the Municipality. The collective center currently accommodates four families. © UNHCR/Karen Minasyan

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Antonini Niva, 37, his son Nesly, 15, and daughter Nevelinini, 7, walk to a rented room they'll share with other family members and Haitian nationals. They left Brazil, where they lived for five years, and travelled through the dangerous Darien Gap and Central America until they reached Mexico. © UNHCR/Nicolo Filippo Rosso

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High Commissioner Filippo Grandi surveys the destruction in Hatay city, Türkiye. Some 54,000 people have lost their lives in Türkiye and Syria as a result of the devastating February earthquakes, and millions have been affected. Grandi also met with survivors and affected people, as well as humanitarian staff who are providing urgent support, during a three-day mission to the country in March. © UNHCR/Emrah Gürel

Global stockpiles ready to dispatch

Global stockpiles of emergency supplies were maintained in Accra, Amman, Copenhagen, Douala, Dubai, Nairobi and Panama City to ensure readiness to ship support by land, air, or sea to people affected by emergencies within 72 hours. This enabled UNHCR to dispatch over 7.4 million relief items to new emergencies and ongoing operations around the world. Supplies included tents, blankets, water containers, kitchen sets and mattresses.

Strengthening the ability to respond 

In 2023, proactive emergency preparedness was as critical as ever. UNHCR ensured its readiness to respond by conducting risk assessments, monitoring global developments, and planning for 28 countries at high risk of emergency.

UNHCR also strengthened its ability to respond to emergencies efficiently and effectively, by organising emergency training events; doubling the number of annual Workshops on Emergency Management and training 393 UNHCR and partner staff to be deployed to emergencies at any given moment.

Making a difference on the ground 

Donations from UK for UNHCR supporters directly made a difference in the lives of refugees such as Humaira, a mother of eight whose home was partially destroyed in the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Afghanistan’s western Herat Province.

In the weeks afterwards, Humaira and her family were forced to sleep outdoors under a flimsy plastic sheet and some blankets. Now, they are among 300 households receiving emergency tents, blankets, solar lamps, plastic tarpaulin sheets and gas cylinders for cooking.

Mother of eight, Humaira, received a tent and emergency items in a distribution supported by UNHCR and its partner ARAA (Ansari Rehabilitation for Afghanistan) In Rubat Perzada village, Injil district. © UNHCR/Caroline Gluck

As a new year begins, the need for solidarity and support for people forced to flee has never been as important as it is today. The critical humanitarian aid that Humaira and millions of others worldwide received would not have been possible without the compassion and generosity of our supporters.

Read the full report to learn more about how supporters helped UNHCR make an impact: Emergency Preparedness and Response 2023

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