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African Countries Top List of Neglected Crises – According to Norwegian Refugee Council

Six of the world’s 10 most neglected displacement crises are in Africa, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council. The charity makes the annual list based on lack of political will, media coverage and aid.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, where decades of conflict has left more than five million people displaced, topped this year’s list of the world’s most neglected displacement crises, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said Thursday.

Other African displacement crises making the annual list were in South Sudan, Central African Republic, Burundi, Ethiopia and Nigeria.

The NRC compiles the list each year based on three criteria: lack of political and diplomatic will to end conflicts, insufficient media attention and inadequate aid.

“The crises on the African continent seldom make media headlines or reach foreign policy agendas before it is too late,” said Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland.

“Most people would be surprised to learn that the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in DR Congo now has reached the same level as in Syria. Still, the world’s attention on these two crises are miles apart,” said Egeland.

Several of the conflicts in Africa have been raging for years, creating millions of internally displaced and refugees spilling across borders. New clashes have also emerged on top of long-running conflicts, creating further human suffering that gets insufficient attention.

“There seems to be little willingness, both locally and internationally, to find a way out of too many of these crises. In some places, this is due to a lack of geo-political importance, while in other places there are too many parties and actors with conflicting interests, and too few willing to protect the interests of the civilians,” said Egeland.

In long-running conflicts, international donors experience funding fatigue even as millions of displaced people remain in need of basic necessities, healthcare, shelter and schooling, the NRC said.

The media also often turns its attention away from covering the human side of large-scale humanitarian crises, the NRC said.  When the media does report about conflict, coverage of human suffering is often overshadowed by war strategies and politics, it said.

“The list should serve as a reminder, both for us as humanitarian organizations, for the media and for politicians. The fact that we do not see these people suffer, does not make their suffering any less real, and it does not absolve us from our responsibility to act,” Egeland said.

Other countries making the list of the top 10 neglected crises include Yemen, Venezuela and Myanmar; the Palestine territories were also mentioned.

According to the UN, more than 65 million people are displaced internally within their country or across borders due to conflict.

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