The world is risking starvation deaths and prolonging conflicts in Africa from the too little attention paid to the increasing rate of mass displacements of people across the continent, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has warned.
“With the all-absorbing war in Europe’s Ukraine, I fear African suffering will be pushed further into the shadows,” the aid group’s chief Jan Egeland said in a statement published Wednesday.
In order, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burkina Faso, Cameroon, South Sudan, Chad, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi and Ethiopia are the countries with the most neglected crises, NRC said.
It is the first time that all 10 crises on the Council’s annual list are on the African continent. Shortfalls in the international political response, media coverage, and the amount of aid pledged were the determining factors for the list.
DRC, the most-neglected country on the list for the second consecutive year running had approximately 27 million people (one-third of the population) who went hungry in 2021, the aid group said, adding that 5.5 million people were internally displaced and one million more fleeing abroad.
7 of the 10 countries on its list also made repeated appearances in recent years.
Only 44% of the $2bn requested by the UN for humanitarian aid was received, while it took just a day in March for a humanitarian appeal for Ukraine to be almost fully funded, the NRC highlighted.
It added that there were no high-level meetings or donor conferences about the DRC’s hunger crisis or the conflict in the country’s east.
“The war in Ukraine has demonstrated the immense gap between what is possible when the international community rallies behind a crisis, and the daily reality for millions of people suffering in silence within these crises on the African continent that the world has chosen to ignore,” Egeland said.
The war in Ukraine that began in February has contributed to rising costs of fuel and food in many countries across Africa, experts and aid workers said.
Wheat imports make up 90% of Africa’s $4bn trade with Russia and almost half of the continent’s $4.5bn trade with Ukraine, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).
“Adequate attention” from the UN Security Council and other international bodies, with measures like assigning one or more members to “champion” specific displacement crises and support for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working on the ground is needed, according to the aid group.
It also suggested steps to address donor fatigue, such as governments committing steady funding flows rather than one-off pledges.