“Suffering in Silence”: Focus on forgotten humanitarian crises

Madagascar 2017: Emergency aid after the cyclone

Madagascar 2017: Emergency aid after the cyclone, © CARE / Clément Radar

28.01.2020 - Article

Many humanitarian crises are not in the public eye and, as a result, assistance and funding is often lacking. The relief organisation CARE is presenting “Suffering in Silence” at the Federal Foreign Office, a report which focuses on these crises.

Forgotten crises: Little attention in the media

Major humanitarian crises are regularly in the news. There are reports on the situation in Syria or Yemen almost every day. Even major natural disasters receive coverage, most recently, for example, the cyclone in Mozambique. However, there are also crises which receive little public attention as they unfold. These are the forgotten crises. The lack of media reports is often accompanied either by a complete absence of funding or inadequate financing for humanitarian assistance. These crises are usually the result of prolonged conflicts, recurring natural disasters or gradual changes to the climate.

“Suffering in Silence”

Nigeria: Many people are fleeing from Boko Haram
Nigeria: Many people are fleeing from Boko Haram© CARE / Josh Estey

The “Suffering in Silence” report published annually by the relief organisation CARE turns the spotlight on humanitarian crises which have received the least media coverage in the previous year. Whether it be hunger in Madagascar and Zambia, displacement in the Central African Republic and Burkina Faso, violence against women and girls in Burundi or the lack of access to safe drinking water in North Korea: these are just some of the forgotten crises which CARE has identified for 2019. The latest report will be presented at the Federal Foreign Office on 28 January 2020.

The aim is to draw the attention of more people to forgotten humanitarian crises, with a view to mobilising assistance for those affected.

The current report proposes solutions as to how to shift the public focus more to these crises. Among other things, they include greater efforts on the part of policy-makers, the media, relief organisations and civil society.

Federal Foreign Office provides support in forgotten crises

The Federal Foreign Office made available a total of 175 million euros in 2019 for humanitarian assistance in forgotten crises. The crises were selected on the basis of the European Union’s Forgotten Crisis Assessment index. Furthermore, the German Government regularly puts this issue on the agenda in EU bodies and vis-à-vis international partners with the aim of mobilising more funding for those affected in these regions.


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