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ConflictsBurkina Faso

Burkina Faso world's worst forgotten crisis: report

June 3, 2024

The Norwegian Refugee Council has said ongoing conflicts and a chronic lack of funding have led to the neglect of millions of displaced people. It has compiled a grim ranking of the worst-affected countries.

A refugee woman holding a little girl
Most of the countries plagued by forgotten crises are in West and Central AfricaImage: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance/dpa

Burkina Faso topped a list of the world's most neglected crises for a second year in a row, according to a report released Monday by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

The humanitarian organization said there were currently around 2 million internally displaced people in the West African country, most of them cut off from aid.

Junta-ruled Burkina Faso has been grappling with a jihadi insurgency for years. In 2023, more than 8,000 people were killed in the violence. 

What is the list of neglected crises?

To arrive at its 2023 ranking, the NRC looked at which countries were worst affected by three metrics: funding shortfalls, lack of media attention and faltering international diplomatic initiatives.

It analyzed 39 crises in total.

All but one of the countries in the top 10 were in West or Central Africa.

Burkina Faso was in first place, followed by Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Niger, Honduras, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Chad and Sudan.

A group of people walk through a dry landscape on the border of Burkina Faso and Ghana
According to the UN, there are more than 12 million refugees and forcibly displaced people in West and Central AfricaImage: DW

'New normal' of neglect

"The utter neglect of displaced people has become the new normal," said Jan Egeland, the NRC's secretary general.

"The world is neither shocked nor compelled to act by stories of desperation and record-breaking statistics," Egeland added. "We need a global reboot of solidarity and a refocus on where needs are greatest."  

The NRC said its annual assessments pointed to a decline in international support and media coverage, partly due to the lack of media freedom in many of the countries on the list. However, the "ongoing reduction of humanitarian funding" was most stark, the report added.

In 2023, the shortfall between humanitarian appeals and money actually donated amounted to $32 billion (€29.5 billion), the NRC said, around $10 billion higher than in 2022.

The lack of resources was, in turn, leading to rising hunger levels across all countries on the list, the NRC said.

"We urgently need investment for the world's most neglected crises. These investments must be made both in the form of diplomatic initiatives to get warring parties to come to the negotiating table, as well as funding commensurate with needs from donor countries," said Egeland.   

nm/sms (AFP, dpa)