Medical Teams International provides life-saving medical care primarily in two contexts: sudden onset emergencies and protracted emergencies. Whereas sudden onset emergencies like natural disasters or armed conflicts are often well publicized, protracted emergencies are more easily forgotten and difficult to sustain because they last longer and fall out of news cycles. When this happens, we often call these types of emergencies forgotten or neglected crises.

People with bags walking single file along road
The conflict in Ukraine is an example of a sudden onset emergency (and not a neglected crisis) that has been well funded and publicized. Photo by Jana Čavojská.

What are neglected crises?

Crises become neglected when we don’t hear about them in the news and donors and policy makers no longer make them a priority. These crises are often exacerbated by complex elements such as conflict, climate change and poor governance. Today, Medical Teams and our partners are working with communities in many neglected crises.

As part of the Integral Alliance, Medical Teams joins forces with more than 20 other humanitarian organizations to create awareness around neglected crises. We believe this commitment to collaborate intentionally results in greater impact for the people we serve.

Refugees arriving to the transit center from the DR Congo
Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa – more than one million refugees. Violence in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo has forced thousands of families to seek refuge in a new country.

Ten neglected crises

Below are ten countries with neglected crises where either Medical Teams or another Integral Alliance member are working (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Afghanistan
  • Burkina Faso
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Ethiopia
  • Lebanon
  • Madagascar
  • Myanmar
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Yemen

Unfortunately, all of these neglected crises worsened in recent months from record-high food prices as a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine as well as other factors affecting the global economy. For more information on a specific neglected crisis, see the brief descriptions below. Consider supporting an organization actively working in one of these countries.


Afghanistan is a neglected crisis of conflict, drought and hunger. There are 24.4 million people in need, which is more than half the country’s population. Years of compounded crises and under-investment resulted in nearly four times the number of people in need of life-saving assistance compared to just three years ago. Only 14% of the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan has been funded. (Source: Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan, OCHA 2022)

Burkina Faso

In Burkina Faso, three years of conflict led to displacement and hunger. There are 3.5 million people in need, which is 16% of the estimated total population of 21.7 million. Violence affects 77% of the country, and 3.45 million people were expected to experience significant food gaps during June to August 2022. (Source: Burkina Faso Humanitarian Response Plan, OCHA 2022)

Democratic Republic of Congo

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), decades of recurring conflict resulted in 27 million people being in need of humanitarian assistance, which is about 28% of the total population. Displacement led to hunger as families can no longer access their lands to grow food. Disease and inadequate health services increase vulnerability in this neglected crisis. (Source: DRC Humanitarian Response Plan, OCHA 2022)


In Ethiopia, recurring drought worsened by recent conflict left 25.9 million people in need. About 22% of the total population of 117.9 million have needs relating to hunger, physical and psychological harm, public health threats and loss of livelihoods. (Source: Ethiopia Humanitarian Response Plan, OCHA 2022, FAO 2022)

A crowd of Ethiopian refugees
This refugee camp consists of small houses that have never been completely finished. It is located near a huge reservoir, and the houses in which the Ethiopian refugees now reside were built for the Sudanese who had to leave their homes due to the construction of the reservoir. Photo by Joost Bastmeijer.


Lebanon was suffering economic collapse even before COVID-19 and the disastrous August 2020 Beirut Port explosions. Recovery is hampered by political deadlock. The country hosts an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, and 1.9 million people (almost 28% of the total population), plus over 350,000 migrants and refugees, have critical needs in healthcare, water, food and education. (Source: Lebanon Humanitarian Response Plan, OCHA 2021)

firefighters hose down flames amidst rubble
Aftermath of explosion in Beirut


Six tropical storms hit Madagascar between January and April 2022, severely reducing access to food by devastating agricultural land and damaging the fishing industry. The storms killed 214 people and affected 571,100 with flooding, loss of houses, land and jobs. In the south, the worst drought in 40 years continues with many suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Overall, 1.6 million people are in need — that’s 57% of the total population of 2.8 million. (Source: Madagascar Humanitarian Response Plan, OCHA 2022)


In Myanmar, the transition to democracy was abruptly halted by a military coup in 2021. The opposition was outlawed and politicians imprisoned. Conflict and violent crackdowns persist across the country with disregard for international humanitarian law. Many people suffer human rights abuses, torture, sexual violence and displacement. There are 14.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance (27% of 54 million population). Many cannot access food or safe drinking water. Protection, health and mental health needs are widespread in this neglected crisis. (Source: Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan, OCHA 2022)

South Sudan

For the third consecutive year in South Sudan, heavy rainfall resulted in massive flooding and widespread destruction of crops. Over two million people are displaced due to flooding and conflict in many areas. A startling 8.9 million people, over 70% of the population, have been pushed into extreme vulnerability. Many do not have access to enough food or safe drinking water. Public health issues persist and women and girls are at risk of sexual violence. (Source: South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan, OCHA 2022)


The political transition from military to civilian rule since 2019 has been difficult with significant issues affecting the peace process in Sudan. Humanitarian needs continue to grow with 14.3 million people in need, 31% of the 45.8 million population. This includes the displaced, returnees and refugees. Most people in need do not have access to enough food and water or the means to earn income. Health needs are high and access to health services is very limited. Violence persists across the country and protection needs are high. (Source: Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan, OCHA 2022)

Ethiopian refugees crossing the river into Sudan
Many Ethiopian refugees have been forced to flee their homes due to violence and have sought refuge in Sudan. We are working with partners to provide medical care for refugees once they arrive. Photo by Joost Bastmeijer.


Seven years of conflict has led to widespread suffering, displacement, a collapsing economy and disrupted public services in Yemen. More than 23.4 million people, 75% of 31 million population, are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. A record 19 million people need food assistance. More than 4.3 million people have fled their homes since 2015, making this the fourth largest internal displacement crisis globally. Preventable diseases, loss of employment and rising prices affect the whole country, and an increasing number of people cannot access enough food. (Source: Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, OCHA 2022)