If not now, when?

This report looks at the extent to which older people’s rights are being upheld in emergencies and their needs met. The picture it paints is a bleak one. Although some efforts are being made to support older people, overall, the humanitarian system is failing by the standards it has set itself.
The report draws on the findings of needs assessments carried out by HelpAge International in the 13 months to the end of 2019. We interviewed 8,883 people aged 50 to 80 – plus affected by natural disasters, conflict or socioeconomic crises in 11 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Since the data was collected, COVID-19 has swept across the globe. The pandemic has both increased the need for humanitarian aid and disrupted its delivery. The response to coronavirus has thrown into stark relief the gulf between the risks older people are facing and the level of support available to them. The findings in this report provide important lessons for improving this response.
Download the report and the summary of the report, and read our press release.

Breaking point

The findings of our assessments make clear that older people’s basic needs are often unmet.

Out of sight, out of mind

To compound the diffilties older people face:

Services out of reach

We found that blanket approaches to delivering aid were preventing many older people from accessing even general services:


Worse for women

Older people have diffrent experiences of emergencies depending on their gender. Our needs ssessments show that older women are under more strain than older men. Women accounted for:

Case studies

Thoughout the report, we showcase the voices of older people.