Every year hundreds of millions of people worldwide are affected by emergencies and disasters1 due to natural and man-made hazards. These events often have devastating impacts on human health, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, and illness and injury for millions of others. They damage health infrastructure, disrupt health systems, and severely affect the delivery of health services.

A single disaster can set back development gains by many years, and prevent countries from reaching a range of health targets. The purpose of this document is to outline how WHO contributes to the reduction of death, illness and disability from emergencies while promoting the wellbeing and dignity of those affected.