Suffering in Silence: New CARE report highlights top 10 crises that received little to no media attention in 2019

Nine out of ten of the most under-reported crises are on the African continent while man-made climate change dramatically fuels displacement and hunger crises

GENEVA, 28 January 2020 – Madagascar’s chronic food crisis ranks #1 in CARE’s report Suffering in Silence which was launched globally today. The international aid organization’s analysis of global online media coverage is now in its fourth year and shows a concerning trend of certain countries annually recurring on the list. The African continent hosts nine out of ten under-reported crises, ranging from drought to displacement, conflict, epidemics, and food insecurity.

“We’re seeing increasing linkages between the effects of man-made climate change and the longevity and complexity of humanitarian crises. 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,” says Sally Austin, CARE International’s Head of Emergency Operations.

“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 and much-needed transformations there. 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.”

With the report Suffering in Silence, CARE challenges media institutions, aid organizations, and policy makers to make conscious choices about their priorities. For most of the under-reported crises in this top 10 list, the humanitarian response is also chronically underfunded.

Suffering in Silence 2019: Top 10 of under-reported crises:

  1. Madagascar – Impacted by the human-made climate crisis, over 2.6 million people are affected by drought.
  2. Central African Republic – A brutal conflict in the heart of Africa, about 2.6 million people are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.
  3. Zambia – On the front lines of climate change, an estimated 2.3 million people in the country are in urgent need of food assistance.
  4. Burundi – Instability fueling a humanitarian crisis, 1.7 million people chronically struggle to feed their families.
  5. Eritrea – Fleeing drought and repression, half of all children under five experience stunted growth as a consequence of malnourishment.
  6. DPR Korea – Hunger behind locked doors, around 10.9 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance to meet their food, health, water, sanitation, and hygiene needs.
  7. Kenya – Trapped in the middle of floods and droughts, more than 1.1 million people live without regular access to food.
  8. Burkina Faso – A silent humanitarian catastrophe, around 5.2 million people – more than a quarter of the population – are affected by the escalation of violence in Central Sahel.
  9. Ethiopia – A vicious cycle of disaster, hunger, and displacement, about 7.9 million people suffer from a serious level of malnutrition, particularly pregnant and lactating women, infants, and the elderly.
  10. Lake Chad Basin – Armed conflict, displacement, and hunger, nearly 10 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

CARE has spokespeople available. For media inquiries, please contact:

Lama Alsafi | 613-228-5641

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 2019. More than 2.4 million global online sources were monitored in English, French, German, Arabic, and Spanish. 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 Reliefweb, ACAPS, and CARE’s own data. The result was a list of 40 crises that were then screened in Meltwater’s database for the time period of January 1 to November 15, 2019 with relevant keywords 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 fourth edition of CARE’s Suffering in Silence report. In 2019, the most under-reported crisis is Madagascar, followed by the Central African Republic, and Zambia. In 2018, Haiti was at the top of the ranking crises having received the least media attention. This annual analysis serves as a reminder and appeal to raise attention for forgotten crises in both media and political debates.

About CARE Canada

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE develops solutions alongside women and girls in developing countries to lift themselves, their families, and their communities out of poverty and out of crisis. CARE stands with women and girls around the world in economic empowerment. We bring women, girls, and their communities together to challenge inequality while facing issues like food insecurity, climate change, and emergency relief in times of crisis or disaster. CARE works in 100 countries around the world.

To learn more about CARE Canada, visit

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