Africa and its displaced, sad world champions of forgotten dramas

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A family of displaced Cameroonians who fled the city of Amchide and the abuses by Boko Haram, on the border with Nigeria, to find refuge in Maroua, September 30, 2018.

Would tragedies deserve less attention when they take place in Africa? Difficult to conclude otherwise the annual analysis of the most neglected crises on the planet, when for the fifth consecutive year, the continent comes at the top of this list published by the Norwegian Council for Refugees (NRC). It’s even worse and worse, as Africa occupies nine of the top ten spots for 2019, up from seven in 2018 and six in 2017.

Every year, on the eve of Refugee Day, June 20, the NRC sift through the crises that have displaced more than 200,000 people, focusing on three criteria: the lack of progress towards peace, the lack of interest of the media and the lack of financial aid to the populations (calculated according to the rate of coverage of the fundraising calls launched by the United Nations and its partners). This is how the NGO compiles its list of forgotten dramas, those areas where people die in general forgetfulness, in the heart of a world yet addicted to communication.

In the DRC, “the biggest hunger crisis after Yemen”

For the second year in a row, “Cameroon tops the list of the most neglected countries on the planet”, remember the NRC, which observes in this state “An exacerbation of Boko Haram attacks in the north, a violent conflict in the English-speaking west and a refugee crisis in the Central African Republic”. Add to this picture an ineffective resolution of the conflict, the silence of the media and a lack of financial assistance.

The death on June 3 of a young journalist, Samuel Wazizi, after ten months in prison without due process, tragically illustrates how difficult it is to cover news in Cameroon, classified 134e out of 180 countries in the annual Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranking. Despite this context, it is one of the countries where international humanitarian calls have been the least well funded in the world, the donors being reluctant to help its inhabitants while 1.4 million people are insecure there. food. In 2019, only 44% of the country’s aid needs were funded.

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Cameroon is followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Despite the political lull, military operations, attacks by armed groups and inter-community fighting have still forced hundreds of thousands of Congolese to flee the eastern provinces of Ituri, South Kivu and North Kivu.

“Nearly 1.7 million people have been displaced from their homes, the highest number of newly displaced people of any country in Africa,” recalls the NRC, which also points out that the DRC experienced in 2019 “The second largest hunger crisis in the world after Yemen, the number of people unable to feed themselves has risen to over 15 million.” And the NGO regrets that although this is the second largest internal displacement crisis in the world after Syria, international attention and donor funding have remained very insufficient.

“Conflicts, climate change and chronic famine”

Next comes Burkina Faso, a newcomer to this list because of the fivefold increase in 2019 in the number of internally displaced people, making it the fastest displacement crisis in the world. Civilians are caught there between multiple intercommunal and jihadist violence, when it is not the acts of violence by the armed forces… “The United Nations, France and the G5 Sahel leaders have continued to provide an essentially military response to stabilize the country in the context of counterterrorism operations, observes Tom Peyre-Costa, spokesperson for NRC. What the displaced populations in the Sahel need is a holistic response, ” with notably “Urgent assistance”.

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In the same area, Mali, sixth in the ranking, also has significant needs which increased in 2019. As for Niger, ranked tenth, “He was hit by a triad of conflicts, climate change and chronic famine in 2019”, Tom Peyre-Costa notes. Refugees from the west and south crossed the border of that state to find some of the peace they did not have in Burkina, Mali, or Nigeria.

In this litany of various forms of violence, a few African countries are nevertheless doing well. Ranked ninth last year, Ethiopia “falls” to the 24e square. The granting of the Nobel Peace Prize to its Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, in November 2019, earned this country media coverage which improved the funding of its needs, increased in 2019 from 56% to 84%. Eighth last year, Libya also came out of the top 10 thanks to improved funding for its needs, no doubt linked to the media coverage of the conflict. But the war raging there, it only slipped to eleventh place …

The ten most neglected displacement crises:

1. Cameroon
2. Ground floor
3. Burkina Faso
4. Burundi
5. Venezuela
6. Mali
7. South Sudan
8. Nigeria
9. Central African Republic
10. Niger

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