Portrait of a displaced woman at one of the unformal sites hosting displaced families in Maiduguri, Northeast Nigeria.

Africa is home to nine of ten of the world’s most neglected crises

Published 09. Jun 2020
Cameroon, DR Congo and Burkina Faso are the most neglected displacement crises in the world, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council’s annual list launched today.

“The deep crises represented by millions of displaced Africans are yet again the most underfunded, ignored and deprioritized in the world. They are plagued by diplomatic and political paralysis, weak aid operations and little media attention. Despite facing a tornado of emergencies, their SOS calls for help fall on deaf ears,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

> See the full list and read more here

Humanitarian crises in these countries are expected to worsen throughout 2020, compounded by the global coronavirus pandemic that is adding further hardship to millions.

“Covid-19 is spreading across Africa, and many of the most neglected communities are already devastated by the economic shocks of the pandemic. We need solidarity with these conflict-stricken communities now more than ever, so the virus does not add more unbearable disaster to the myriad of crises they already face,” said Egeland.

For a second year running Cameroon topped the list as the most neglected crisis on the planet in 2019. Three separate emergencies faced the African nation: an exacerbation of Boko Haram attacks in the north, a violent conflict in the English-speaking west, and a Central African refugee crisis. Ineffective conflict resolution, global news silence and a massive aid funding shortfall all contributed to the country topping this year’s list.

Cameroon was followed by DR Congo, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Venezuela, Mali, South Sudan, Nigeria, Central African Republic and Niger.

The Sahel region of Africa was prominent in this year’s list, with Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria and Niger all embroiled in the extreme violence that engulfed the region, yet with massively underfunded aid appeals. Niger and Burkina Faso appeared on the list for the first time.

The neglected crisis list is based on review of over 40 displacement crises based on three criteria: lack of funding, lack of media attention, and political and diplomatic neglect. Cameroon scored high on all three, followed closely by DR Congo and Burkina Faso, two other crises where a lack of public attention contributed to a lack of funding to run aid operations.

The ten most neglected displacement crises
  1. Cameroon
  2. The Democratic Republic of the Congo
  3. Burkina Faso
  4. Burundi
  5. Venezuela
  6. Mali
  7. South Sudan
  8. Nigeria
  9. Central African Republic
  10. Niger
Facts about the list

Every year, NRC presents a list of displacement crises the world has neglected.

The list is based on the following three criteria:

Lack of political will: This includes both the degree of political will among the armed parties on the ground to protect the rights of civilians and to engage in peace negotiations, and international actors' willingness or ability to find political solutions.

Lack of media attention: When developing the list, media attention has been measured using media monitoring results delivered by Meltwater. To compare media attention with the size of the crisis, the potential media reach for articles about the relevant displacement crisis has been divided by the number of people displaced.

Lack of international aid: Every year, the UN and humanitarian partners put together humanitarian appeals for funding to cover basic needs in countries and regions affected by large crises, but how large a share of the appeal is covered varies greatly. The percentage of the appeals covered in 2019 has been used to indicate level of economic support.

All countries with more than 200,000 displaced people have been analysed.

Notes to editors:

Photos from the 10 most neglected crises are available here.
B-roll from the 10 most neglected crises is available here.
Read and download the full report here.

For interviews or more information, please contact:
  • NRC Media hotline in Oslo at media@nrc.no, +47 905 62 329.
  • For interviews on Cameroon, or Central and West Africa: Tom Peyre-Costa, Regional Media Adviser for Central and West Africa, peyrecosta@nrc.no, WhatsApp: +33 6 58 51 83 91, Skype: tom.peyre-costa