The 10 Most Under-Reported Humanitarian Crises of 2018

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Suffering In Silence Report

If you don’t post it, did it really happen?

In the age of social media and 24-hour news cycles, this question has become a mantra for many. What we read, see or hear manifests in reality. What we do not catch on screen or online does not seem to exist. The sad truth is that disasters and crises made reality look grim for over 132 million people worldwide in 2018, whether we heard about it or not. More than a quarter of them listed in this report suffered in silence, away from the spotlight.

The globe is scarred by violence and disasters. Climate change caused by fossil fuel emissions is hitting harder with every passing day. Yet, some crises receive less media coverage than others. Displacement in the Democratic Republic of Congo rivals that of Syria but has received far less attention. In the Central African Republic widespread starvation has set in, which has gone largely unnoticed. And while the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti hit the headlines, the food crisis in 2018 barely made international news.

Why is this?

Crisis overload, lack of media access, funding woes – there are many reasons the world chose to look away in 2018. The media plays a crucial role in how the public, aid workers and international organisations respond to emergencies and human suffering. However, dwindling news budgets pose a major threat to foreign correspondence.

Ranking and the role of climate change

In most of the humanitarian crises covered by the report, such as Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines (rank 5), the effect of El Nino in Madagascar (rank 3),  consecutive droughts in Ethiopia (rank 2), and various natural disasters in Haiti (rank 1), climate change plays a major role. Deteriorating environments also cause vulnerabilities that make it harder for people to be resilient to humanitarian crises in regions such as the Lake Chad Basin and Sudan. This adds to the growing body of scientific evidence that the global climate crisis undermines sustainable development and causes human suffering.

  1. Haiti On the edge of survival
  2. EthiopiaHungry and forgotten
  3. MadagascarOn the frontline of climate change
  4. Democratic Republic of CongoA vicious cycle of violence, disease, and malnutrition
  5. Philippines A destructive typhoon in the shadows of many
  6. Chad An island of stability in the Sahel, struggling to meet all needs
  7. EthiopiaThe silent displacement of 1 million people
  8. NigerWhere the poor share their meals with the poorer
  9. Central African RepublicIn the heart of Africa but off the radar
  10. SudanOver a decade of hunger and conflict