Ten humanitarian crises “forgotten by the media”

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This is the fourth year that Care has released this report on the forgotten, or at least the least publicized, crises. For the year 2019, the NGO widened the analysis by including the press in Spanish and Arabic languages, in addition to English, French and German.

Six of the ten crises highlighted here have already appeared at least twice in this ranking. Another characteristic: nine of these ten crises take place on the African continent.

The causes of these humanitarian crises are diverse: drought, conflicts, epidemics, food insecurity.

The NGO wonders about the factors that contribute to one crisis being less publicized than another. She believes that two criteria are decisive: the duration of the crisis and its geopolitical impact. The longer the crisis, the less it disrupts the major balances and the more likely it is to be “forgotten”.

The ten forgotten crises

1 – Madagascar

This country is one of the first affected by climate change. In the past, more than 2.6 million people were aware of the effects of the drought there and one million of them were in need of food assistance.

The Great South region suffers particularly, and for several years, from a lack of precipitation.

2 – Central African Republic

Conflicts have been recurring in this country since its independence in 1960. One in four citizens has been forced to change their domicile because of this violence. Despite a peace agreement signed between the belligerents, in early 2019, the security situation remains tense. 2.6 million people, half the country’s population, are in need of assistance. Aid workers were the target of 244 attacks last year.

3 – Zambia

This southern African country is severely affected by drought. In 2019, rains in the West and the South recorded their lowest intensity since 1981. The wheat and corn crops were disastrous. Faced with the shortage, the price of corn has increased by 70% in one year. 40% of children under five are malnourished.

4 – Burundi

The country is one of the poorest in the world. The political situation is difficult. 326,000 Burundians are still refugees in neighboring countries, despite numerous returns from Tanzania. It is estimated that 15% of Burundians, or 1.7 million people, live in food insecurity.

5 – Eritrea

The country of the Horn of Africa is cut off from the world by an authoritarian and autarkic political regime, which makes it difficult to disseminate information in the media and any reliable assessment of the humanitarian situation. Humanitarian organizations are banned, and outside journalists have very difficult access to the country.

A strong drought in 2019, which followed a year of low rainfall, accentuates the difficulties of feeding. It is estimated that the country manages to cover 60 to 70% of needs in good years, and 20 to 30% of needs in bad years. Half of the children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition.

6 – North Korea

Over 40% of the population does not have access to potable water or adequate food. 11 million people are in need of assistance. Diarrhea is one of the leading causes of death in children.

Access to international media in the country is very difficult and NGOs have significant logistical difficulties in working.

7 – Kenya

Particularly exposed to climate change, the country has experienced regular droughts in recent years. Rainfall is often too heavy and forces residents to move during the rainy season.

These climatic conditions make it difficult for a little over a million Kenyans to feed themselves. Women are particularly vulnerable.

8 – Burkina Faso

Over the past year, the security crisis in the entire Sahel region, linked to the rise of jihadism, has started to affect this country. A quarter of its population, or five million people, is affected by violence. Last year 30,000 people a month had to leave their homes.

2,000 schools and 71 dispensaries were unable to open due to insecurity. It is estimated that this year more than two million people will need food assistance.

9 – Ethiopia

The country experienced drought in the east and southeast over the past year. 84% of its inhabitants live in rural regions. The country contributes only 0.27% of CO emissions2 but suffers on the front lines from the effects of climate change.

The fragility of populations has notably increased the risk of gender-based violence. We find that women and girls living in drought-affected areas were more exposed to sexual violence, especially when they fetch wood or water.

10 – Lake Chad basin

This geographical area, on the borders of Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, has known for the past ten years a conflict which has led to the displacement of part of its population, that is 2.5 million people. The region is also affected by the drop in water in Lake Chad, notably due to climate change. This has already led nearly 10 million people to food insecurity.



Care International hired the services of the Merltwater Group to carry out this barometer. 2.4 million mentions on the net and in the press were taken into account during the past year. Any country where at least one million people are affected by conflict or natural disaster is considered to be in crisis. On this criterion, 40 crises appeared. The ten least publicized were selected. The first of these being the one that received the least attention in the print and social media.



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