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  • The report observed that three of the least-covered crises are on the United Nations' list of the least-funded emergencies.

    The report observed that three of the least-covered crises are on the United Nations' list of the least-funded emergencies. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 January 2020

"In 2019, over 51 million people suffered in 10 crises away from the public eye," CARE said. 

Of the top 10 most forgotten 2019 humanitarian crises fuelled by the climate emergency nine were in Africa, according to a new analysis entitled "Suffering in Silence" and released Tuesday by CARE International.

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"In 2019, over 51 million people suffered in 10 crises away from the public eye," the study said, in a continent where temperatures are increasing at about twice the global rate.

CARE examined 2.4 million online sources in five languages and found out only 612 reports about the humanitarian emergency in Madagascar for instance. The island came in the first place of the countries ignored by the international community, followed by the Central African Republic and Zambia.

With 80 percent of the population in Madagascar living from agriculture, the drought resulting from climate change caused heavy damage to millions of people. The food crisis led the country to have the fourth-highest rate of malnutrition in the world and paved the way for a measles epidemic that infected over 100,000.

The other under-reported emergencies are taking place in Madagascar, Zambia, Eritrea, Central African Republic, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and the countries of the Lake Chad Basin, made up of Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon. North Korea is the only country on the list that isn't in Africa.

Throughout last year, the suffering of millions of people due to global warming in these southern countries was ignored by thousands of media articles, at a time when the climate activism led by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg dominated the headlines.

"The increased public attention for the global climate crisis is encouraging, but we must ensure that the conversation is not limited to the Global North," said the Head of Emergency Operations for CARE International Sally Austin.

"It is shocking to see how little media reporting there is about human suffering related to global warming in the South, the lack of political action to address this injustice, and solutions applied to ease the burden for communities."

CARE's study noted that the climate crisis is exacerbating political and economic instability across the African continent.

"We're seeing increasing linkages between the effects of man-made climate change and the longevity and complexity of humanitarian crises," said Austin. 

"From Madagascar to Lake Chad to North Korea, the majority of crises ranked in our report are partly a consequence of declining natural resources, increasing extreme weather events and global warming more broadly."

The report also observed that three of the least-covered crises in the world are also on the United Nations' list of the least-funded international emergencies.

Media outlets and humanitarian groups can help to close the gaps by considering "reporting as a form of aid," CARE concluded.

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