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Armed conflicts, the climate crisis, and struggling economies are taking a devastating toll on the most vulnerable communities, resulting in catastrophic hunger and unprecedented levels of displacement.

Below you will find a list of countries currently on CAFOD’s Emergency Watchlist which are in need of urgent humanitarian support at this time. Through Every Second Counts you can support these silent emergencies that aren’t reaching the news and ensure they aren’t forgotten.

One of the countries on our list for 2024 is Afghanistan which continues to face natural disasters, conflict and poor governance, meaning that poverty is widespread in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban takeover in 2021, women and girls in Afghanistan continue to live with rights-violating policies. In the video below we hear from Nargis, a Women’s rights activist and former Afghan Minister, for a first-hand account of what women are experiencing in Afghanistan.

1. Afghanistan

With more than 23 million people in need of humanitarian assistance CAFOD partners continue to support the most vulnerable communities in Afghanistan. Alongside earthquakes, the continued violation of women’s rights and a severely precarious economy, an estimated 770,000 Afghans are forecast to return from Pakistan in 2024, following the Government of Pakistan’s plans to repatriate “illegal foreigners”. They will be returning to a country reeling from repeated conflict, instability and climate-related disasters. Please see enclosed for a spotlight on one of our projects supporting women’s livelihoods in Afghanistan.


2. Colombia

Colombia faces a complex, protracted humanitarian crisis with more than seven million people requiring humanitarian assistance. With more than 6.8 million internally displaced people (IDP) and more than 2.5 million Venezuelan refugees, Colombia has one of the largest IDP populations and hosts the third largest refugee population according to the UN. Further displacement is expected into 2024. In addition, Colombia is prone to climate related disasters such as drought, flooding, and wildfires. We expect this to be exacerbated in 2024, due to the ongoing El Niño effect further increasing the vulnerability of local communities. In addition to this more than half a million people crossed the Darien gap, many of them, including children, dying in the jungle. It is likely that the mass migration will continue. With donations from Every Second Counts, CAFOD supports our longstanding partners to respond immediately to emergencies, for example by providing basic provisions (such as blankets and food) to those forced to flee their homes by conflict and affected by other crisis.


3. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

In 2023 we saw escalating violence in the east of the DRC, displacing 5.8 million people from their homes. With no political solution in sight, we expect to see continued conflict in 2024. As we write this, we are closely monitoring the upcoming Presidential elections and praying for a peaceful outcome. CAFOD has been supporting communities by working towards better governance and conflict resolution, as well as providing opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. There is also frequent humanitarian work in an area where control of resources, inter-ethnic conflict fuelled by external actors and the DRC’s own political instability continue to disrupt people's lives on an almost daily basis. CAFOD’s partners are working with communities (particularly women and youth) to empower them to have greater participation in civic and political structures at local, regional and national levels.


4. Lebanon and Syria

CAFOD works with Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian communities, supporting those most affected by the multiple crises in Lebanon. The ongoing impact of the Syrian civil war, the economic crises in Syria and Lebanon, and the recovery from the devastating earthquakes in Syria in February 2023 continues to be a significant focus for CAFOD and our partners. More than 15.3 million people in Syria continue to require humanitarian assistance. In Lebanon, yearly food inflation rates are some of the highest in the world (+274% in August 2023) and over a million people are expected to face high levels of food insecurity in 2024. We are also concerned about the fragility of the situation in the Middle East and the humanitarian impact of any potential expansion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our partners work to improve the rights of women and girls, provide opportunities for dignified livelihoods and the creation of safe spaces for open dialogue within the communities.


5. Sudan

The ongoing conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces since April has resulted in 25 million people requiring humanitarian assistance across Sudan. To date there have been 6.7 million Internally Displaced People and 1.4 million refugees that have fled to Egypt, Chad, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. This conflict is putting significant pressure on South Sudan, a country trying to recover from a prolonged civil war and the distressing impacts of flooding due to climate change. We are expecting the Sudan crisis to deteriorate further in 2024, and the situation in South Sudan to remain precarious due to a combination of climatic and political factors. CAFOD is responding to the influx of refugees into South Sudan and is monitoring the refugee situation in eastern Chad. In April 2023 we released £100,000 of Every Second Counts funding which our partners used for the distribution of food, water, hygiene kits and shelter as well as the provision of latrines, showers, and handwashing facilities in refugee camps.


6. Yemen

Conflict between the Internationally Recognized Government of Yemen, with support from the Saudi-led coalition, and the de-facto authority in the north of Yemen has been continuing for many years now. The conflict has resulted in a serious humanitarian and economic crisis leading to more than 21.6 million in need. On 23 October 2023, floods and winds have also displaced around 7,200 people. In some areas, the damage and destructions of the houses has resulted in the loss of livestock and crops. CAFOD has supported our partner, Caritas Poland, to provide emergency medical interventions and essential medicine, as well as hygiene workshops to prevent the spread of disease for the most vulnerable families.

Every Second Counts Watchlist

Please note that this is by no means an exhaustive list of the emergency response work CAFOD is currently doing or planning for 2024. We have also excluded some countries due to the high risk nature of the work and the protection of our partners and the communities is our highest priority.

If you would like to hear more or to make a donation please do get in touch with Roisin on 020 7095 5676 or email ESC@cafod.org.uk