Three hundred thirty-nine million people worldwide did not have enough necessities to survive in 2022 and are, therefore, acutely dependent on humanitarian aid. According to CARE’s “Breaking the Silence” report, the aid organization annually shines a spotlight on the ten humanitarian crises that received the least coverage in the previous year. CARE Austria Managing Director Andrea Barschdorf-Hager called this a record at a press conference.
The number had risen by 65 million people within a year, Barschdorf-Hager said. The report, published this year for the seventh time and released on Thursday, is also record-breaking, not in a positive sense. Especially the numerous disasters on the African continent seem to interest only a few media professionals: All ten crises that received the least coverage in the previous year are in Africa for the first time – from Angola to Niger. And if you look at the following places up to 19, there are also only two non-African states among them: Peru in twelfth place and Indonesia in 13th.
Barschdorf-Hager sees the cause, among other things, in the fact that “there is no crisis region in the world that is so difficult and also so expensive to travel to (as the disasters in Africa, note).” The CARE executive director also stressed that there are no monocausal crises. Usually, several factors come together, but one bracket is ordinary to virtually all disasters: climate change. Thus, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and – if number 14 is added – Mozambique are on the list, all of which have been hit hard by climatic caprices in southeastern Africa, with cyclones and long periods of drought.
It is also significant that virtually all crisis regions in Africa are struggling massively with the effects of the war in Ukraine, which once again massively exacerbated the already unsustainable situation. In Angola, number one on the list, there were excessive price increases for grain and cooking oil, for example. The country is one of the four countries where war-related price increases for these products have had the most significant impact. From January to mid-October, there were just 1,847 online articles dealing with the situation in Angola.
CARE, in cooperation with the media monitoring company Meltwater, proceeded as usual: First, those crises were defined worldwide in which more than one million people are permanently dependent on humanitarian aid. There were 47 in 2022 – “with a slight upward trend,” said Barschdorf-Hager. Keywords such as climate change, drought, conflict and war were used to sift through more than 5.8 million reports to create the ranking. The war in Ukraine led to the crisis becoming the most reported in the world – “abruptly,” Barschdorf-Hager noted. The previous year, the humanitarian crisis was already prevalent before the war and was still the second least reported.
The CARE executive director explicitly stressed that the aim was not to put the crises in a competitive situation with each other. “The focus is on what is topical at the moment. But that does not mean that the other crises are no longer there. Emergency aid has to be provided everywhere. It’s very clear that people in Angola or Malawi need help just as much as those in Afghanistan, Syria or Ukraine.”
The report also sadly features permanent residents: the Central African Republic, for example, has yet to be represented in any of the seven reports, and Burundi only once failed to appear in the Breaking the Silence report. “It’s important to have this report to shine the light on these forgotten disasters,” said Claudine Awute, CARE’s vice president for international programs. It’s the only way to get policymakers, donors and supporters to take action on behalf of people in these crisis areas, she said.
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