2023 retrospective: the year’s highlights

The year 2023 was marked by an intensification of crises around the world. Tragedies such as the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the continuing Russian invasion of Ukraine, and other large-scale conflicts, such as in Sudan, have claimed thousands of lives. Similarly, Honduras and Libya are experiencing the impacts of climate change. These emergencies are exacerbated by the effects of global warming, fragile infrastructures, restrictions on the delivery of humanitarian aid, rising food costs and energy prices.

The majority of these emergencies are located in the “formally inadvisable” red zones of the map put online by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs; zones in which almost all Première Urgence Internationale missions are present. Humanitarian access to these countries is increasingly restricted, further increasing the risk of these crises escalating.

Crises last, but so does the commitment of Première Urgence Internationale teams.

Thanks to your donations to our Emergency Fund, our teams have provided support to over 6 million people in 2023.

As long as there are needs and our proposed response meets them in a relevant way, we’ll be on the ground. A look back at our actions in 2023:

Assistance for earthquake survivors in Turkey and Syria

© Première Urgence Internationale

On February 6, 2023, two violent earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria, followed by numerous aftershocks, some of which were felt as far away as Lebanon and Iraq. Many families find themselves on the streets during this winter period, with temperatures dropping below 0 degrees at night.

Thanks to your generosity, Première Urgence Internationale was able to respond quickly to the emergency. We rehabilitated shelters to accommodate disaster victims. Afterwards, we carried out support activities for the children. These were very difficult times for them,” confides Ahed Alezzo, Head of Mission in Syria.

The Première Urgence Internationale teams in Syria have been mobilized in Aleppo, Latakia, Homs and Hama, all regions heavily affected by the earthquake. They began by providing generators to help rescue workers save victims. To ensure that families were sheltered, schools were set up to accommodate those affected.

Sudan’s civil war spills over into Chad

People flee their neighborhood amid fighting between the army and paramilitaries in Khartoum, April 19, 2023, after a 24-hour truce was broken. © AFP

The fighting that has been raging since April 15, 2023 has caused the displacement of 7.1 million people (UN), in large parts of the country and towards neighboring Chad.

As early as April, our teams set up a mobile clinic in the Adré region of Chad to reinforce the primary healthcare services available to people arriving from Sudan. Since then, Première Urgence Internationale has been working with several NGOs on the Lycée and Hospital sites in Adré, where, by the end of October 2023, over 300,000 people were living.

Since the start of the crisis, Première Urgence Internationale has been the only organization present with fixed facilities, offering primary healthcare, care for children under 5 and pregnant and breastfeeding women suffering from malnutrition and mental health support. Our teams have carried out over 46,000 medical consultations, treated more than 2,000 cases of severe acute malnutrition, and built 400 emergency shelters.

Meeting the needs of the civilian population in Ukraine

© Sadak Souici | Première Urgence Internationale

Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian armed forces, nearly 5.4 million civilians have been displaced in the country, and 18 million people are still in need of emergency humanitarian aid, partly living in collective shelters.

In this context, our teams intervene directly in the Dnipro, Kharkiv and Lviv regions, providing health, mental health and protection support to civilians who have fled the combat zones. In partnership with five French NGOs within the Dorijka Consortium, Première Urgence Internationale responds to the most pressing needs of war-affected civilians.

To support the most vulnerable civilian populations, the  Consortium covers fourteen regions of the country, deploying mobile clinics to provide initial medical assistance to displaced civilians whose access to healthcare has been temporarily limited or interrupted due to the fighting.

Première Urgence Internationale’s mobile teams work directly in collective shelters. Andriy, director of the day center in Dnipro, which supports almost 20,000 people, talks to us about his experience:

This day center welcomes civilians from the Bakhmut, Konstantinivska, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk regions, who have had to flee territories under intense bombardment. Here, they can receive medical, psychological and social support. Sometimes we organize distributions,” he adds. “In 90% of cases, the civilians who arrive need medical assistance and psychological support. They are distraught and have been through some very traumatic times. In this center, they can meet a social worker, a doctor and nurse, and a psychologist from Première Urgence Internationale.”

Our teams also distribute hygiene kits, winter supplies, financial aid and medicine vouchers directly to the civilian population.

Exploratory mission to Honduras

In June 2023, the Première Urgence Internationale team carried out its second humanitarian exploratory mission in Honduras, a Central American country vulnerable to climate disruption, where almost one in three inhabitants is in need.

“To assess needs, we go out and meet communities to listen and discuss with them and understand their needs. We also visited health centers and schools, hospitals, agricultural fields and isolated villages. We also talked to local and international NGOs and local, departmental and national government representatives.” explains Tinou-Paï Blanc, in charge of emergencies.

Following its assessment, Première Urgence Internationale observed major needs in various sectors: access to water and food security, primary health and mental health, as well as protection and gender-based violence. In other words, it’s a country where Première Urgence Internationale’s integrated pproach could come into its own. s. This approach aims to identify and understand all the needs of people affected by a crisis. Its aim is to better target priority actions to stabilize and then improve the situation of the most vulnerable groups.

Devastating floods hit Libya

Mobile health team, medical consultations, Alsahel municipality, October 2023 © Première Urgence Internationale

On September 11, Storm Daniel caused extensive damage in eastern Libya. In Al-Bayda, 500 meters above sea level and the fourth largest town in the country’s eastern region, 80% of the village’s infrastructure was destroyed. Al- Bayda is one of 16 localities visited by Première Urgence Internationale teams to assess needs.

Roads, electricity and telephone networks have been destroyed, and are being gradually restored by the authorities. Water is no longer available, which could lead to considerable health risks and the emergence of water-borne diseases.

We know that there is a need for shelter, medical support, medical assistance, access to water, but also psycho-social support to help people who have suffered these shocks “, recalls Luisa Martinazzi, Head of Mission in Libya.

Thanks to the generosity of the public who contributed to Première Urgence Internationale’s Emergency Fund, we were able to provide shelter, medical care and vital assistance to people displaced and affected by Storm Daniel, bringing them much-needed relief from extremely precarious living conditions. In particular, we were able to set up a mobile health clinic to provide primary healthcare in the villages affected by the hurricane. Our teams provide general, paediatric, reproductive and sexual health consultations on a daily basis in the most vulnerable rural areas.

A complete siege of the Gaza Strip

Preparing food parcels for displaced families in the Gaza Strip, October 2023 – © Première Urgence Internationale

In retaliation for the Hamas attacks of October 7, 2023, Israeli military forces unleashed an unprecedented offensive. Israeli aerial bombardments and ground assaults, interrupted only by a brief ceasefire between November 24 and 30, have so far claimed the lives of a large number of civilians and caused immense destruction.

As of January 31, 2024, 26,900 Palestinians, mainly women, children and teenagers, have been killed in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israeli bombing and military operations. 1.7 million people, or 85% of the Gaza Strip’s population, are now internally displaced: the vast majority are now concentrated in the Rafah region, on the border with Egypt, and southwest of Khan Yunis.

Jehad Abu Hassan, Première Urgence Internationale‘s field coordinator in the Gaza Strip, testifies: “I lived through the wars of 2012, 2014, 2021. This time it’s completely different, devastating in every way. The health system was already very fragile, and with the very large number of wounded and dead, the main Al-Shifa hospital can’t meet all these needs.”

René Elter, archaeologist on our project to rehabilitate the Monastery of St Hilarion and the Byzantine Church in Jabalia, and to pass on the Gazan cultural heritage, explains: “You see bombs falling close to you. And over the noise, you hear buildings collapsing.”

While our expatriates, Jehad Abu Hassan and René Elter, were able to return to France, the rest of our national teams managed to find accommodation in a “safer” house in southern Gaza. To support the population in an absolute emergency, they are coordinating a daily distribution of drinking water in the Rafah region. Around 10,000 people benefited from this water over a one-month period. Since the beginning of the war, our teams have regularly distributed food baskets and hygiene kits in the Khan Younès and Rafah areas.

Première Urgence Internationale is also relentlessly pursuing its call for a complete and immediate ceasefire and the permanent and full opening of a humanitarian corridor.


Première Urgence Internationale also organizes events throughout the year

The earthquake in February destroyed entire towns in south-east Turkey and north-west Syria.

On March 6, Première Urgence Internationale took part in a charity gala and auction at the Folies Gruss to support earthquake victims.


A child’s “first 1,000 days” are decisive for his or her health and future life: more than 2 million children under the age of 5 are particularly exposed to severe malnutrition, especially in Yemen.

On September 5, the Première Urgence Internationale team and journalist Quentin Müller debated at Le Poinçon, Paris, the challenges faced by the people of Yemen in accessing essential services and the impact on women’s and children’s health.

From September 18 to October 11, our teams in Palestine organized the exhibition “The Taste of Watermelon” at the Institut Français de Ramallah . The exhibition featured works by Victorine Alisse and Tanya Habjouqa, whose series explore the relationship between Palestinians and their land.


© Studio 360

Displayed at the Galerie Medina in Bamako on September 24, then at the Café Griffon in Paris on October 28, the “Regards sur l’urgence” (Looks at the emergency) exhibition retraced our 10 years of humanitarian intervention in Mali through testimonials and photos.

Faced with increasing population displacement, Première Urgence Internationale is working in the Kidal, Gao, Ansongo and Mopti regions with projects covering health, nutrition, psychosocial health, water, hygiene, sanitation and food security.

© Katya Moskalyuk | Première Urgence Internationale

When we talk about life in Ukraine during the war, we’re talking about the fate of its civilians. Today, some 6.2 million Ukrainians are refugees abroad, 90% of them women, and 5.1 million people have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere in Ukraine.

In December, Première Urgence Internationale, a member of the Dorijka consortium (made up of 5 French NGOs) organized an exhibition of portraits of Ukrainian women, revealing part of their story.

Worldwide mobilization for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip

On December 18, 2023, over 800 humanitarian and human rights organizations in several countries around the world mobilized to call on political decision-makers.

In France, the day was punctuated by three events in which Première Urgence Internationale took part:

A letter co-signed by 15 organizations has been published, addressed to the French President, calling on France to step up its commitment to ensuring compliance with the Geneva Conventions, and in particular to protecting civilian populations.
The call for an immediate and lasting ceasefire. This is the only way to save lives, guarantee the delivery of aid and respect international humanitarian law.
A press conference and an action on the Parvis des Droits de l’Homme (Paris) were organized to express the need for an immediate and lasting ceasefire.

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Stats Each year, Première Urgence Internationale allocates most of its resources to the programs and activities and only 0.2% to fundraising. Your donations are crucial.

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