Climate change is causing disaster and suffering in places hidden from the public eye, says new report from CARE International

GENEVA (February 21, 2019) - At least half of the world’s most neglected humanitarian crises are directly caused by climate change, according to a new report by the international aid organisation CARE International.

In ‘Suffering in Silence’, which lists the ten most underreported humanitarian crises across the world, CARE says the human cost of climate change is largely hidden from the public eye, manifesting itself in the disasters that are neglected by the media and the public. 

Sven Harmeling, CARE International Global Policy Lead on climate change and resilience, said:

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. 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.

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. 

The report mentions climate change as a direct cause of five of the ten biggest crises: in Sudan, Chad, the Philippines, Madagascar and Ethiopia.

It has also played an exacerbating role in places like Haiti, which is experiencing drought and chronic food insecurity. According to CARE’s research, the crisis in Haiti is the most neglected in the world.

The deterioration climate change brings to the environment makes people in that environment more vulnerable and less resilient to humanitarian crises, as we have seen in Chad, Niger and Sudan, the report says.

Andriamiarinarivo Rajaonarison, Country Director of CARE Madagascar, said: 

Repetitive situations of food insecurity due to chronic drought in the south of Madagascar significantly reduce livelihoods and the ability of households to cope with the effects of climate change. 

While CARE constantly monitors and works to address the situation, it is essential that this issue does not fall off the public radar. Climate change will not wait. The media must keep this issue front and center to ensure that the most vulnerable are not left behind.

CARE calls on international media, policy makers and civil society to increase their efforts to speak about neglected humanitarian crises around the world and the ever-increasing role of climate change.

Increased funding and resources invested in reporting will not only result in better coverage of neglected crises but can, most importantly, help to bring much-needed relief to those in need.

To read the full report: Go to care-international.org

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 UN data via Reliefweb, ACAPS and CARE’s own statistics. The result was a list of 34 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 crisis. “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.

About CARE

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting poverty and providing assistance in emergencies. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly women and girls. CARE works in 93 countries, supporting 950 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid projects, reaching more than 62 million people directly (as per fundraising year 2017).

Media contact:

Emily Wight, Senior Press Officer (Programmes and Policy), +442070916063, wight@careinternational.org 

Ruby Wright, Press and PR Manager: +442080916047, wright@careinternational.org 

Out of hours: +44 (0)7824 563 810

Back to media releases