World’s Most Neglected Displacement Crises 2022

Ukraine War, Conflict, Climate Adds More to Displacement

Burkina Faso tops the list of the world’s most neglected displacement crises, according to a new report from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

The annual list of neglected displacement crises shows redirection of aid and attention towards Ukraine increased neglect of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The list of displacement is based on three criteria: lack of humanitarian funding, lack of media attention, and a lack of international political and diplomatic initiatives. The displacement crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo ranks second, having appeared first or second on the list every year since its inception seven years ago. Colombia, Sudan, and Venezuela follow in this grim ranking.


  • The number of people who are severely food-insecure saw a nine-fold increase.
  • Over 14,000 people killed – half of them since January 2022.
  • Some two million people now internally displaced.
  • In 2022, number of schools closed due to insecurity nearly doubled, to over 6,200, disrupting education for over a million children.
  • Around 40 per cent of the country is considered to be outside of state control, making aid operations in these areas extremely challenging. Some 23 towns and cities, home to 800,000 people, are under blockade by a range of armed groups leaving people cut off from the rest of the country, with no access to operational markets or basic social services


The humanitarian response across DR Congo was greatly curtailed by a lack of funding, leaving people without safe drinking water, adequate food or a livelihood to support their families. Without greater support from the international community in 2023 for lifesaving assistance, resilience and peace programming, the country likely faces another year as one of the world’s most neglected crises.


Colombia faced three critical interrelated crises that contributed to a worsening humanitarian landscape in 2022: the continuation of the 60-year-old armed conflict, the ongoing Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis, and the impact of climate change and extreme weather events. Across the country, over 7.7 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance, one million more than in 2021.


A third of the Sudanese population needed aid by the end of 2022 – the highest figure in a decade. In 2023, the country has already made headlines as it collapsed into widespread conflict. Sudan hosts over a million refugees, one of the largest refugee populations in Africa. The vast majority are from South Sudan.


The crisis continues to deepen, with over 1 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants leaving their homeland in 2022. Driven by a dire daily reality, 7.2 million people have left the country in search of international protection and a safer and better life since the crisis began. At the end of 2022, close to 20 million people in Venezuela needed humanitarian assistance and almost a third of the population was food insecure. Despite the huge needs, donors only provided 36 per cent of the funding needed.


In 2022, an already dire food insecurity situation worsened due to a combination of soaring prices for food and goods, and climate hazards, including a delayed rainy season, followed by torrential rains and flooding. Some 52 per cent of children under 5 years were reportedly stunted and 1.8 million people were in need of aid. This silent crisis was heavily affected by donor fatigue. The humanitarian response plan for 2022 was just half funded. In early 2023, the World Food Programme announced that food rations for refugees would be reduced by half due to lack of funding.


By the end of 2022, 4,12,000 people were displaced across Mali, nearly 40 per cent of them within the northern regions. Children bore the brunt of displacement with an estimated 150,000 children in Mali lacking birth certificates and more than half a million children out of school last year. With the withdrawal of French development funds from Mali, and the subsequent decision by the Malian government to suspend French humanitarian funding at the end of last year, the already limited humanitarian response is likely to shrink. Projections for 2023 are worrying, with the number of Malians in need likely to increase by 17 per cent to 8.8 million people.


At the start of 2022, 3.9 million people across Cameroon required aid, a number that rose to 4.7 million by the end of the year as the country remained far from the international community’s focus. Funds remained limited, with only 55 per cent of the humanitarian response covered by international donors. With little international initiative to find political solutions to Cameroon’s triple crisis, the level of need in the country is not expected to show any sign of improvement in the short to medium term. 2023 looks set to be another challenging year for the people of Cameroon.


In 2022, El Salvador faced several devastating humanitarian crises driven by generalised violence, recurrent extreme weather events, and widespread poverty and inequality. These factors compounded to leave 1.1 million Salvadorans in need of aid.


In total, there were over 20 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia in 2022. Despite the severity of the humanitarian crisis, it received little attention from the global community. Funding for humanitarian assistance has been limited, with just half the required funding received last year. This left aid organisations struggling to meet the needs of those affected by the crisis


“Neglect is a choice – that millions of displaced people are cast aside year after year without the support and resources they so desperately need is not inevitable,” said Jan Egeland, NRC’s Secretary General.

“The powerful response to the suffering inflicted by the war in Ukraine demonstrated what the world can deliver for people in need. Political action for Ukrainians has been impactful and swift, borders kept open, funding plenty, and media coverage extensive. Those in power need to show the same humanity towards people affected by crises in places such as Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”


The repeated warnings of increased disparity due to the reallocation of resources to the Ukraine response have now become reality. The redirection of a large amount of aid money towards Ukraine and towards hosting refugees in donor countries means that many crises have seen a drop in assistance, despite growing needs. Total aid to Africa, where we find seven out of the ten most neglected crises, was 34 billion USD in 2022, representing a drop of 7.4 per cent compared to 2021.

The Ukraine crisis also contributed to an increase in food insecurity in many of the countries featured in the report, worsening already dire crises, and increasing the number of people in need.

“The world has failed to support the most vulnerable, but this can be reversed. The lives of millions of people suffering in silence can improve, if funding and resources are allocated based on need, not geopolitical interest, and media headlines of the day,” said Egeland. “Last year the gap between what was needed and what was delivered in humanitarian assistance was 22 billion USD. This is a huge sum of money, but no more than Europeans spend on ice cream a year. We need donors to increase support and new donor countries to step up to share responsibility.”

“We must do more to end the suffering in Burkina Faso before despair becomes entrenched and it is added to the growing list of protracted crises. That this crisis is already so deeply neglected shows a failure of the international system to react to newly emerging crises, as it also fails those lost in the shadows for decades. Ultimately, greater investment in diplomatic solutions is needed if we hope to pull crises off this list,” said Egeland.


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