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World Humanitarian Data and Trends 2017: Major trends in the nature, causes and drivers of humanitarian crises

13 Dec 2017


World Humanitarian Data and Trends (WHDT) is an annual flagship report from OCHA that showcases major trends in the nature of humanitarian crises, their causes and drivers.

Through the use of case studies, the report shows how the global landscape is evolving: the impact of natural disasters is getting worse - even though there were fewer natural disasters in 2016 compared to 2015, the number of people affected nearly doubled to 204 million and the cost of damages rose from $90 to $147 billion. Violence and conflict have led to a high of 65.6 million displaced and the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) roughly doubles the number of refugees globally.

Humanitarian crises also increase the vulnerability of women and their access to health services: 60 percent of preventable maternal deaths take place among women in conflicts, natural disasters and situations of displacement. And for the third year in a row, a measure of public interest in humanitarian crises decreased - potentially indicating public fatigue and a need for improved advocacy for those most vulnerable.

The report shows emerging opportunities to improve the efficiency of aid: mobile phones can be used to conduct remote surveys, as was done in Kenya to understand women’s nutritional status. And humanitarians, recognising that local partners are key in response but often left out of international funding mechanisms, are looking at innovative ways to strengthen them. In 2016, the Start Fund--an NGO-managed pooled fund-- provided $13.1 million to support 41 responses to crises in 32 countries, with 78 percent of these responses involving implementation with local partners.

The report’s purpose is to consolidate data and trend analysis about humanitarian crises and assistance, and present it in an accessible way, providing policymakers, researchers and practitioners with an evidence base to support policy and operational decisions. 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.