Suffering in silence: CARE report ranks top 10 under-reported crises of 2018

“Suffering In Silence” highlights humanitarian crises that made the fewest headlines based on analysis of global media coverage / Haiti food crisis ranks n° 1

GENEVA -- Today the international aid organization CARE launched a new report highlighting the ten most under-reported humanitarian crises of 2018.

CARE’s report aims to shine a rare spotlight on those humanitarian crises that have been neglected by the global public.

Now in its third year of publishing, CARE's Suffering in Silence 2018 found that the food crisis in Haiti received the least media attention globally. While the catastrophic Haiti earthquake in 2010 made global headlines, the food crisis in the Caribbean state in 2018 was largely overlooked and barely received international media coverage.

“We see more and more complex and chronic crises competing for public attention,” says Caroline Kende-Robb, CARE International secretary general. “Media coverage has always been a strong driver of funding for crises as well as creating political pressure to protect those in need. With dwindling international coverage, under-reported crises are at risk of falling completely off the radar.”

With multiple emergencies within its borders, Ethiopia made the top ten of neglected crises twice: the country continues to face a complex food crisis, with ongoing food insecurity sometimes tipping over into acute hunger as well as a regional displacement with more than 1 million people forced to flee their homes in Gedeo and West Guji. In Madagascar, the number of people at risk of hunger increased to 1.3 million in southern regions due to unfavorable weather conditions. Other countries in crisis that ranked among the top ten list of CARE’s report include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Philippines, Chad, Niger, Central African Republic and Sudan.

Boosting coverage for forgotten crises cannot be the job of media alone but should be a joint effort, says CARE.

“Media outlets, politicians, states and aid agencies need to join forces to find innovative ways to draw public attention to humanitarian needs,” adds Kende-Robb. “Given the challenges the media industry faces with shrinking funds, with coming under attacks that are undermining, and with limited access to some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, we are all responsible for raising the voices of those affected.”


Climate change a cause and contributor to crisis

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.

“Not only are the people who live in the world’s poorest countries most vulnerable to climate change, but they are also the least equipped to address its increasing impacts,” says Sven Harmeling, CARE International’s Global Policy Lead on Climate Change and Resilience. “Media must not turn a blind eye to such crises and the role of climate change. Stronger media attention can also help push decision-makers everywhere to take the far-reaching actions that the climate crisis requires. Governments must step up efforts to protect and financially support those negatively affected, particularly women and girls, as well as quickly transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy.”

CARE calls on international media, policy makers and civil society to increase their efforts to speak about neglected humanitarian crises around the world. Increased funding and resources invested in reporting will not only result in better coverage of neglected crises but can, most importantly, help to bring urgent relief to those in need.

To read the full reportSuffering in Silence 2018 (PDF) | Online version (external website)

Note to editors: Using the media monitoring services of Meltwater Group, CARE analyzed those natural disasters or conflicts that received the least media attention in 2018. More than 1.1 million global online sources were monitored in English, French and German. To filter according to scale, we chose countries in which at least one million people were affected by natural or man-made disasters, according to data by UN OCHA, ACAPS and CARE’s own statistics. The result was a list of more than 30 crises that were then screened in Meltwater’s database for the time period of January 1 to November 28 2018 with relevant key words to describe the crises. “Suffering In Silence” ranks the top ten crises which received the fewest media attention, meaning the least amount of online media coverage. This is the third time that CARE publishes the report “Suffering In Silence”. In 2018, the most underreported crisis is Haiti, followed by Ethiopia and Madagascar. A year ago, in 2017, North Korea had been top of the ranking. This yearly analysis serves as a reminder and appeal to make room both in media and political debates for forgotten crises.


CARE has spokespeople available in Canada and abroad. Contact:

Darcy Knoll
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada | 613-228-5641