The most neglected humanitarian crises of 2017

The most neglected humanitarian crises of 2017

A new report from CARE International released this week has highlighted the ten humanitarian disasters which have been comprehensively under-reported in the global media.

The aid agency analysed 2017 data from 1.2 million online articles covering humanitarian crises and ranked which ones received the least coverage. These were confined to English, German and French language media outlets.

The analysis found that North Korea was the least reported on with only 51 media mentions of its humanitarian disaster. The country receives most attention due to its nuclear weapons programme, but last year’s food crisis was largely ignored. In July 2017, it experienced the worst drought in 16 years with low rainfall and the impact of political repression damaging the chances to grow and harvest crops. An estimated 70 percent of the population is reliant on food aid.

Eritrea in East Africa was in second place with only 69 media articles highlighting its own deep-seated problems with drought and oppression. The report states that 700,000 people are impacted by a drought which has lasted over two years, causing widespread hunger and water shortages.

The small central African country of Burundi came third; in 2017, the country’s political unrest entered into its fourth year. CARE reports that 400,000 people have fled the country while 200,000 remain displaced and lack the basic needs to survive. Last year also saw outbreaks of both malaria and cholera.


                                        CARE International’s full list of crises which received the least attention in 2017



Laurie Lee, CARE International’s Interim Secretary General, reflected on the results of the report:

“We all know that a single photo can make the world turn its attention to an issue. But the people in the countries featured in CARE’s report are far away from the cameras and microphones of this world. These crises might not make the media headlines, but that does not mean we can forget about them” 

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, commented that there was a direct correlation between media coverage and international aid:

“The media plays a vital role in drawing public attention to forgotten and neglected crises. Despite the tragic consequences for the lives of millions affected by conflict and displacement, the gap between humanitarian needs and available funding continues to exist. The outlook for 2018 is grim, as the political will to resolve conflicts and address the root causes that are driving them – poor governance, growing impoverishment, inequality and climate change, is weak. Political leaders must step up and shoulder responsibility for tackling today's forgotten crises”


Image Credit: Martin Bekerman

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