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Countries in Crisis 2023

tents in refugee camp in desert
Photo by Ahmed akacha on Pexels.com


This page provides an overview of countries in crisis as a result of war, natural disasters, economic instability, and social unrest. From one year to the next, the list is generally growing.

Typically one or two stories are provided as a starting point for further research, study, and discussion. Some one-time catastrophic events have resulted in long-time devastation, so ongoing challenges and one-time incidents are included here.

Additional countries will be added to this page as news develops.

Indicators of Wellbeing

The news and reports below highlight certain challenges some countries are currently facing. This list is not intended to be disparaging or imply that other countries have no challenges.

The website Good Country Index provides an overall assessment of all countries in the world based on various factors. That report is a more accurate overall depiction of the condition of different countries, and can reveal areas needing attention or improvement. Thus, it is a more suitable resource for in-depth study and research. [Learn More]


DW News (26 Jul 2023)

“North Africa’s sweeping heat wave and wildfires kill 34 in Algeria” — Thousands of firefighters have been deployed to contain wildfire’s raging in Algeria’s Mediterranean coast as the country struggles with a record-breaking heatwave. Algeria’s interior ministry says it has recorded 97 blazes across 16 provinces. More than 30 people have been killed, including soldiers trying to put out the flames. [Source]


DW News (18 May 2023)

“Argentina battles with 109% inflation” — Argentina is second in a World Bank ranking of countries with the highest price rises. It hit almost 109 percent last month and this week the Argentine central bank increased interest rates to 97 percent. In this environment, paying for everyday needs becomes a constant worry and running a business especially challenging. [Source]

Al Jazeera (14 Apr 2023)

“Argentinians blame gov’t and IMF for rising poverty and inflation” — Argentina has one of the world’s highest inflation rates. It is struggling to comply with the requirements of an International Monetary Fund loan. The IMF expects the economy will grow by only 0.2 percent this year. Many Argentinians are blaming the lender for the economic crisis. Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo reports from Buenos Aires, Argentina. [Source]

Al Jazeera (7 Apr 2023)

“Over 18 million people unable to afford basic needs in Argentina” — Argentina is tackling a severe economic crisis. Government figures show more than 18 million people are unable to cover their basic food needs. Rising inflation and a sluggish economy have left more people homeless. Al Jazeera’s Katia Lopez Hoda-Yan reports. [Source]


VICE (21 Apr 2023)

“The Truth Behind Brazil’s Murder Rates” — Gangs, cops, and militias have a choke-hold on some of Brazil’s neighbourhoods. As these groups battle for power, innocent people are massacred in the crossfire. [View on YouTube]


CBC News (23 Jul 2023)

“500 fires burn across B.C.” — As British Columbia faces its worst wildfire season on record, with roughly 500 fires burning and dozens of communities under evacuation alerts, 600 international firefighters have answered the call to help. [Source]

CBC News (16 Apr 2023)

“Transit riders on edge following spate of violent attacks” — After a third violent attack on transit in Metro Vancouver this month, riders are feeling a heightened level of concern. Police have promised an increased presence but there is a growing awareness that gaps in mental health services may be playing a role. [Source]

CTV News (10 Apr 2023)

“10,000 cars stolen in Ontario so far in 2023, up 45 per cent from 2022” — Auto thefts are up 45 percent in 2023 compared to last year, as high-end vehicles in Toronto are targeted for export and resale globally. [Source]


ABC News (20 Apr 2023)

“The Nile River: The water crisis in Egypt” — By 2025, Egypt is projected to be a water-scarce nation as climate change and a major dam threaten its source of survival. [Source]


DW News (2 Jul 2023)

“Rioters in France ram car into mayor’s house, injuring wife and child” — France’s interior minister says police arrested more than 700 people on the fifth night of unrest across the country. The family and friends of the 17-year old who was killed by police conducted a private funeral. The teenager, who was of north African heritage, was shot dead by police during a traffic stop. The shooting has sparked nationwide protests and reignited issues about police racism. During last night’s riots, the home of a Paris suburb mayor was rammed by a car and set alight. Vincent Jeanbrun, mayor of the southern suburb of L’Hay-Les-Roses, said in a statement that his wife and one of his children were injured. Jeanbrun, from the conservative Les Republicains party, was not at home but at the town hall during the incident. The regional prosecutor has opened an investigation for “attempted murder.” [Source]

France 24 (30 Jun 2023)

“France sees third night of violence amid protests over fatal police shooting of teen” — French President Emmanuel Macron called a new government emergency meeting on Friday after a third night of violent clashes between protesters and police in cities including Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse and Lille, sparked by the deadly police shooting of a 17-year-old on Tuesday that shocked the nation. [Source]

France 24 (19 Apr 2023)

“‘Sitting on a bomb’: Climate change ‘intensifying’ France’s droughts, heatwaves, and forest fires” — France’s government sounded the alarm Monday about the growing risk of forest fires because of climate change, as hundreds of firefighters in the country’s parched south wrestled with their biggest woodland-destroying blaze so far this year. The fire erupted Sunday and burned on more than 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of land along the Mediterranean coast, and spread across the border into northeastern Spain. This, following France’s driest winter in over half a century. For more, FRANCE 24 is joined by Dr. Michel Vennetier, Member of the International Association for Mediterranean Forests and retired Researcher, Engineer, and Ecologist at the French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE). [Source]

CBC News (15 Apr 2023)

“Violent protests in France as president signs bill to reform retirement age” — French President Emmanuel Macron signed legislation that raises the retirement age to 64 from 62. Immediately after the Constitutional Council approved the change, protests erupted across the country with riot police struggling to contain protesters. [Source]

ABC News (14 Apr 2023)

“French protesters clash with police after approval of higher retirement age” — France’s Constitutional Council approved an unpopular law raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64. [Source]

ABC News (6 Apr 2023)

“Riot police and protesters clash in Paris” — Dangerous demonstrations begin again in Paris over the government’s plans to raise the national retirement age from 62 to 64. [Source]


DW News (1 Aug 2023)

“Water shortage in Germany – New ideas for long-term security” — People and countries worldwide are facing more droughts, more heat and growing water shortages. Even in Germany a sufficient supply of water cannot be taken for granted everywhere. The hope now is to secure that supply with new – and old – ideas. The situation in Germany is not comparable to that in many hotter countries, but even here the search for clean water is becoming a growing challenge. [Source]


Al Jazeera (14 Apr 2023)

“Ghana economy on the brink of collapse as crisis deepens” — Ghana is going through its worst economic crisis in years. Last year, the government spent up to 40 percent of its revenues on debt payments. The International Monetary Fund has agreed to a provisional $3bn bailout, but many are concerned it would lead to more hardship. Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris reports. [Source]


BBC News (23 Jul 2023)

“Rhodes: Thousands evacuated from Greek island as wildfires spread” — Thousands of people have been evacuated from homes and hotels on the Greek island of Rhodes after wildfires engulfed large parts of the island. [Source]

CBC News (23 Jul 2023)

“Rhodes wildfire in Greece prompts largest evacuation in its history” — Thousands are fleeing the island of Rhodes in Greece as wildfires continue to blaze amid hot and dry conditions. The evacuation of the island is said to be the biggest in the country’s history. [Source]

DW News (23 Jul 2023)

“Forests, tourists burn up in Greece’s longest heat wave ever” — Greece is facing its longest heat wave on record as temperatures in the south approach 45 degrees Celsius, or 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
The country’s national weather institute says the current heat wave will last around 16 days. Temperatures reached 40 degrees on Friday in Athens after a week of strong winds fanned devastating wildfires. Authorities have warned the public to stay indoors, and tourist sites like the Acropolis have been closed. [Source]

WHAS11 (23 Jul 2023)

“Thousands evacuated from Greece as wildfires intensify” — Many were carried to safety by bus and boat over the weekend as flames ravaged the island of Rhodes. [Source]

DW News (21 Jul 2023)

“Greece: Firefighters can no longer bring wildfires under control” — Firefighters in Greece have been battling to get wildfires back under control after they rekindled on Thursday evening west of Athens. The blazes forced renewed evacuations in an area that experienced some relief after four days of fires. DW correspondent Amien Essif sent us this report from Mandra near Athens, where people are seeing their homes and livelihoods devastated. [Source]


PBS NewsHour (8 May 2023)

“Thousands try to flee Haiti as gangs terrorize innocent civilians” — The U.N. Security Council expressed deep concern over the security and humanitarian crises in Haiti. The Caribbean nation is in freefall without effective governance or protection from gangs that routinely terrorize innocent civilians with kidnappings, sexual abuse and murder. That has left people reeling from the violence and determined to leave. Special correspondent Marcia Biggs reports. [Source]

France 24 (5 Apr 2023)

“Haiti: The wounds of a broken country” — The security situation in Haiti has spiralled out of control since the shock assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021, with the country increasingly beset by violence. Today, unrest has reached such levels that the United Nations is being urged to intervene and there has been a total breakdown of governance. The country is increasingly at the mercy of criminal gangs and half of the population struggles to find food. FRANCE 24’s team travelled to Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, before gangs took full control of the city. They met a writer, a street vendor and a food importer, as well as residents trying to flee abroad. [Source]


VICE (14 Apr 2023)

“Teen Bike Gangs Are Terrorizing Indonesia” — Teen gangs have been targeting members of the public at random in what’s known locally as Klitith. Now, local residents are organising watch groups mobilising over a thousand volunteers and police have ramped up night patrols to curb the deadly wave of violence. [View on YouTube]


France 24 (12 Apr 2023)

“Europe migrant crisis: Italy declares state of emergency amid numbers surge” — The migrant crisis is surging once again in Italy. 31 thousand people have either been rescued or landed on Italy’s shores since the start of the year. That’s four times more than the same period last year and the year before. The government in Rome has just declared a six-month state of emergency. And like many Italian prime ministers before her, Georgia Meloni has been unable to convince the rest of the EU to help. FRANCE 24’s Seema Gupta is in Southern Italy. She tells us more on why the Italian government declared the state of emergency now. [Source]

Deutsche Welle (9 Apr 2023)

“Italy’s Lake Garda sees record low water levels” — Lake Garda in northern Italy has less water this spring than ever before. As the country’s largest freshwater reservoir, this could have serious consequences for local agriculture and energy supply. [Source]


France 24 (10 Jul 2023)

“Japan warns of ‘heaviest rain ever’ amid deadly floods” — One person was killed and hundreds of thousands were urged to evacuate their homes in southwestern Japan on Monday, as forecasters warned of the “heaviest rain ever” in the region. [Source]

Al Jazera (31 Mar 2023)

“Schools shut down as Japan struggles with record-low birth rates” — Japan’s Prime Minister has announced he’s bringing in new policies to boost the birth rate, including doubling the budget for child-related policies. A full plan will be announced in June. Japan is struggling to cope with record-low birth rates, with 450 schools closing every year. Al Jazeera’s Lina Abu Akleh reports. [Source]


France 24 (12 Apr 2023)

“Lebanon’s economic crisis forces soldiers to desert or take on second jobs” — Lebanon’s economic meltdown has plunged most of the population into poverty. It’s now also threatening the country’s security. As the currency has plummeted to new lows in recent months, salaries too have fallen, as prices rise. To make ends meet, soldiers are being forced to take on second jobs, or even desert their ranks. Our Beirut correspondents went to meet two of them. [Source]


CBS (16 Sep 2023)

“Recovery efforts continue amid staggering scope of death, destruction from Libya flooding” — The catastrophic flooding in the Libyan city of Derna earlier this week has killed at least 11,000 people, and the death toll is expected to rise. Many residents are returning to Derna, not to resume their lives, but identify the dead. Anna Foster reports from Libya. [Source]


Al Jazeera (15 Apr 2023)

“Mexico deploys marines to protect tourists in Cancun” — Mexico’s government has deployed more than 8,000 soldiers to guard beaches and tourism hotspots. It follows a number of killings in popular holiday destinations. However, it may not be an easy fix. Al Jazeera’s John Holman reports from Cancun, Mexico. [Source]


PBS (27 May 2023)

“Humanitarian crisis worsens as fighting in Myanmar’s civil war ramps up” — The United Nations estimates that nearly 18 million people need humanitarian aid as a result of the civil war in Myanmar, now entering its third year. Aye Min Thant, Burmese-American journalist, and Jonathan Head, the BBC’s southeast Asia correspondent, join John Yang to discuss what’s happening. [Source]


DW News (10 May 2023)

“Supporters of former Pakistani PM Khan clash with security forces” — Supporters of former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan have clashed with security forces following his dramatic arrest on Tuesday. Khan was taken into custody during a court appearance in Islamabad on corruption charges. His detainment marks a dramatic escalation of political tensions in the country. Protests erupted in several cities across Pakistan, including Islamabad, Karachi, and Khan’s hometown, Lahore. Against the backdrop of a severe economic crisis, Khan remains influential. Across the country, people turned out in force to protest his arrest. If convicted, Imran Khan, by far the most popular opposition politician, will likely be prevented from running in the upcoming elections in November. [View]

Insider News (5 Apr 2023)

“How Millions Are Trapped In Modern-Day Slavery At Brick Kilns In Pakistan” — Entire families in Pakistan work dangerous jobs at brick kilns to pay off snowballing debts to kiln owners. Workers don’t have bank accounts and make so little they have to keep borrowing just to get by. [Source]


PBS NewsHour (11 Apr 2023)

“Somalia in need of humanitarian aid as it faces worst drought in decades” — Somalia faces one of the world’s most acute humanitarian crises. The country is seeing its worst drought in 40 years, famine and an ongoing armed conflict. Humanitarian agencies warn nearly 8 million people, half of the population, are in dire need of assistance. Stephanie Sy discussed the challenges with Omar Mahmood, a senior analyst for East Africa for the International Crisis Group. [Source]


Deutsche Welle (27 Apr 2023)

“40°C: Record breaking April temperatures worsen Spain’s drought crisis” — Spain is experiencing record heat this April. The summer-high temperatures in Spring are exacerbating a long-running drought. The country’s meteorological agency has attributed the unusually high temperatures to climate change. We talk to Guy Hedgecoe, a journalist in the Spanish capital of Madrid, about the effects of the extreme heat. [Source]


Al Jazeera (16 Apr 2023)

“Sudan unrest: Army approves passage for urgent humanitarian cases” — The Sudanese army says it has approved a proposal from the United Nations to open a safe passage for urgent humanitarian cases for three hours every day starting from 16:00 local time (1400 GMT) on Sunday. In a statement, the army confirmed however that it will reserve the right to react if “the rebellious militia commits any violations”. Earlier. the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) said it had temporarily halted all operations in Sudan after three of its employees were killed in clashes between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) a day earlier. Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan joins us live from Khartoum for the latest updates. [Source]

BBC (16 Apr 2023)

“Sudan power struggle leaves dozens of civilians dead” — A power struggle between Sudan’s army and a notorious paramilitary force has rocked the country, with more than 50 civilians reported dead. Residents dodged gunfire in the capital, Khartoum, as rival forces battled over the presidential palace, state TV, and army headquarters. The clashes erupted after tensions over a proposed transition to civilian rule. [Source]

CBC News (16 Apr 2023)

“Dozens dead, hundreds wounded as Sudan’s army and rival paramilitary force battle” — At least five civilians were killed and 78 wounded on Sunday, bringing the two-day toll to 61 dead and more than 670 wounded, said the Sudan Doctors’ Syndicate. Fighting is widespread, raising fears of a civil war. The U.S., China and Russia have called for an immediate end to the fighting and the UN, European and African unions have also expressed concern about the situation. [Source]

Deutsche Welle (16 Apr 2023)

“What’s behind the deadly chaos in Sudan?” — In Sudan, dozens of people have been killed this weekend in a fierce power struggle between the army and a powerful paramilitary group called ‘The Rapid Support Forces.’ More than 50 civilians are among the dead, with hundreds more people wounded, as the rival groups battle for control of the country. The clashes, centred in and around the capital Khartoum, follow months of heightened tensions that have delayed Sudan’s long-anticipated transition to democracy. [Source]

Al Jazeera (15 Apr 2023)

“Breaking News: Heavy gunfire heard in Sudan’s capital Khartoum” — Heavy gunfire and explosions were heard in Sudan’s capital Khartoum following days of tension between the army and a powerful paramilitary group. Shooting and blasts took place on Saturday in the vicinity of Sudan’s army headquarters and the defence ministry in central Khartoum. Columns of smoke emanated from various places in the city and soldiers were deployed on the streets. Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan reports from Khartoum, Sudan. [Source]

“‘Angry and enraged’: Sudan’s former foreign minister on bombings in Khartoum” — Mariam al-Mahdi, Sudan’s former foreign minister, told Al Jazeera that she felt “very sad, angry and enraged” as she heard the sound of war plans, shooting and bombings from her home in Khartoum. [Source]

BBC (15 Apr 2023)

“Sudan mounts air strikes as Khartoum clashes escalate” — Sudan’s army and a notorious paramilitary force have battled with heavy weapons in the capital Khartoum amid tensions over a proposed transition to civilian rule. At least three people have died after heavy fighting erupted between armed factions in Khartoum and other cities. Both sides say they control the airport and other key sites. The army says jets are hitting bases of its opponents, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) [Source]

Deutsche Welle (15 Apr 2023)

“Violent clashes in Sudan between army and paramilitary group” — In Sudan, at least three civilians have been killed and dozens injured amid an outbreak of violence between the army and a powerful paramilitary group. Unrest has been reported in several cities, including the capital Khartoum and the city of Merowe to the North. Both sides are blaming each other for launching attacks. They had recently been in negotiations to merge and allow Sudan to transition to democracy. The paramilitary group RSF claims to have seized strategic points including the presidential palace, the army chief’s residence, and Khartoum’s international airport. There are reports of power cuts and communications outages. [Source]


Deutsche Welle (6 Mar 2023)

“How are Turkey and Syria faring a month after the earthquakes?” — It’s exactly one month since a massive earthquake hit southern Turkey and northwestern Syria. More than 50,000 people were killed in the worst natural disaster in modern Turkish history. The quake’s epicenter was near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, close to the Syrian border. Millions of people have been injured, left homeless or are lacking basic facilities. Ankara declared a three-month state of emergency for the ten provinces that were most affected. The government also arrested contractors suspected of shoddy building that may have vastly increased the death toll. After years of war, the situation in northwestern Syria is harder to evaluate. The cities of Aleppo and Idlib were among those badly hit. And a powerful aftershock in the following weeks triggered new fears. [Source]


BBC News (31 Jul 2023)

“Tunisian unrest grows amid inflation, migration, and repression” — In Tunisia, galloping inflation, the pressures of trans-Saharan migration, and an increasingly repressive government, are straining social cohesion. There are similarities to the situation that led to the country’s Jasmine Revolution in 2010, which in turn triggered the wider Arab Spring protests. It’s all being watched nervously across the Mediterranean by European countries that rely on the government there to control migration. Mike Thompson reports from Tunis for Newsnight. [Source]

Al Jazeera (18 Apr 2023)

“Tunisian police detain opposition leader, raid Ennahda party HQ” — Tunisian police have detained opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi and raided the headquarters of his Ennahda party, party officials said. [Source]

France 24 (18 Apr 2023)

“Tunisia closes offices of opposition party Ennahdha after arresting leader” — Tunisian authorities closed the offices of Islamist-inspired opposition party Ennahdha on Tuesday, a day after arresting its leader Rached Ghannouchi, a senior party official said. [Source]


Voice of America (12 Apr 2023)

“Millions of Quake Survivors Still Living in Tents, As Turkey Election Looms” — More than two months after the earthquake in Turkey and Syria that killed more than 50,000 people, millions of survivors are still living in tents — with little hope of returning home anytime soon. Henry Ridgwell reports, with Memet Aksakal contributing. [Source]


Canadian Red Cross (14 Mar 2023)

“Humanitarian Crisis in Ukraine – a team of psychotherapists support people impacted by the conflict” — As a result of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the need for mental health and psychosocial support has increased dramatically. Thanks to funding from the Canadian Red Cross, the Lviv Clinical Hospital of Emergency and Intensive Care was able to hire psychotherapists and mental health specialists to provide long-term supportive therapy to affected populations. Learn how they operate. [Source]

United States

The United States is currently facing a crime wave, gun violence, limited access to healthcare, teacher shortages, vigilante domestic terror groups, droughts, floods, tornadoes, and millions of people living in poverty. The numerous catastrophes from natural disasters have resulted in devastation similar to the aftermath of war. A separate page is dedicated to the long list of crisis situations in the United States. [View U.S. Crisis Report 2023]


France 24 (11 Apr 2023)

“Yemen brutal war: The world’s largest humanitarian crisis” — Diplomatic moves to end the conflict in Yemen are underway after Saudi Arabia and Iran, which support opposite sides in the conflict, agreed to resume diplomatic relations. The eight-year war in the Arabian Peninsula country has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, both directly and indirectly, and pushed the nation, already one of the world’s poorest, to the brink of famine. [Source]

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com