'Breaking the Silence': The 10 most under-reported humanitarian crises of 2022

12 January 2023


  • 50 times more coverage of the iPhone 14 release than Angola’s worst drought in 40 years
  • Nearly 100 times more media coverage of Will Smith’s Oscars slap than Malawi’s food crisis
  • UK aid to Africa was cut by one third in 2021 despite escalating climate-related disasters

The ten most under-reported humanitarian crises in 2022 were all in Africa, according to aid organisation CARE’s annual 'Breaking the Silence' report. The report highlights the crises which received the least media attention over the course of the year.

Angola is experiencing its worst drought in forty years. Nearly four million people do not have enough food to eat. Yet last year, there were 50 times more online media articles about the release of the iPhone 14 (95,118 articles) than the humanitarian crisis in Angola (1,847 articles).

When actor Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars ceremony (217,529 articles), the incident received almost 100 times the coverage of Malawi’s food crisis (2,330 articles), where more than a quarter of the population do not have enough food to eat. The southeast African country suffers from food shortages due to weather extremes, including drought and cyclones.

All ten countries on the list were affected by climate-related disasters. Yet, in 2021, UK aid to Africa fell by one third (33.8 per cent) – a cut of £883 million (FCDO). Hunger, often caused by drought, floods and other climate disasters, disproportionately affects women. Research by CARE has found that 150 million more women than men experienced hunger in 2021.

Eamon Cassidy, Chief Executive of CARE International UK said:

“I’m deeply concerned that cuts to UK aid have exacerbated the crises in countries like Malawi, Zambia and the Central Africa Republic. UK aid to Zambia has fallen by two thirds since 2014, while in 2021, Malawi received less than half the amount of aid the UK gave in 2017. The UK Government has inflicted devastating cuts that are preventing many of the most vulnerable people in the world, including women and girls, from escaping poverty.

“Climate disasters are leading to girls in many countries across Africa being forced to leave school early to work. These disasters also put women and girls at greater risk of early marriage and violence from men. This is intolerable. Without public awareness it is much, much harder to secure financial support to meet these needs, which is why the media are vital partners to help us draw attention to these forgotten crises.”

Ukraine War escalates food crises in Africa

In 2021, Ukraine was included on the list of under-reported crises. The Ukraine War was one of the most prominent global news stories in 2022 with over 2 million articles published online. The effects of the war, including extreme levels of food and energy inflation, have been felt across Africa.

Claudine Awute, Vice President of International Programs at CARE, said:

"The United Nations recently warned of a historic hunger crisis in Africa. We see the scale of it every day in our work. Parents skip meals so their children don't go hungry. Fields dry up, and livestock dies. Families must flee because they can't find food or water. Given this dramatic situation, it is even more worrying that the plight of the people is hardly reported. If we continue to look the other way, the consequences will be disastrous."

Eamon Cassidy added:

"We see it as our mission to highlight the silent crises and share the stories of people who are in greatest need, yet are often forgotten. I also want to express gratitude to all those journalists and media outlets who have covered under-reported crises in the past year, in many cases at great risk to their freedom and safety. In 2023, the need for humanitarian aid will rise to record levels: around 339 million people are in need of life-saving aid, 65 million more than in the previous year. We cannot and will not remain silent when lives are in danger."

Ten humanitarian crises that didn't make headlines in 2022:

  1. Angola – 3.8 million people do not have enough to eat
  2. Malawi – 37 percent of children are malnourished
  3. Central African Republic – 3.1 million people in need of humanitarian aid
  4. Zambia – 50 percent of people live on 1.90 dollars a day
  5. Chad – Second highest maternal mortality rate in the world
  6. Burundi – 50 percent of children under five are malnourished
  7. Zimbabwe – 7 million people need humanitarian aid
  8. Mali – Eighth-highest child mortality rate in the world
  9. Cameroon – 3.9 million people in need
  10. Niger – 4.4 million people are acutely food insecure
Download 'Breaking the Silence'

Notes to editors:

For media enquiries and interview requests, please contact David Moore, Media Officer at CARE International UK, moore@careinternational.org


  • Chikwe Mbweeda, Country Director, CARE Zambia
  • Amos Zaindi, Country Director, CARE Malawi
  • Ely Keita, Country Director, CARE Mali


Meltwater, an international media monitoring service, analysed more than 5.8 million online articles for CARE in Arabic, English, French, German, and Spanish from January 1 to October 10, 2022. From a list of 47 humanitarian crises, those ten crises with the lowest media presence were identified. The report is being published for the seventh time this year.


1 From FCDO - Statistics on International Development: final UK aid spend 2021

2 From FCDO - Statistics on International Development: final UK aid spend 2021 - Table A4a. Total UK bilateral ODA by country - Africa, 2009 to 2021

About CARE:

Founded in 1945, CARE is now one of the world's largest aid organisations, operating in over 100 countries. CARE's aid reached more than 170 million people in 2022.

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