The new coronavirus pandemic risks aggravating the woes of people already suffering from the world’s most neglected crises, especially in Africa, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) aid group said Wednesday.
“COVID-19 is spreading across Africa, and many of the most neglected communities are already devastated by the economic shocks of the pandemic,” NRC’s secretary-general Jan Egeland said.
His remarks came as he presented his organisation’s annual report on “the most neglected crises in the world”.
“We need solidarity with these conflict-stricken communities now more than ever, so the virus does not add more unbearable disaster to the myriad of crises they already face,” he said in a statement.
According the report, nine of the world’s 10 most neglected crises are in Africa, with Cameroon topping the list for the second year in a row.
Venezuela was the only non-African country on the list.
Healthcare systems in these impoverished countries are not in a position to cope with the health crisis brought on by the pandemic, NRC said.
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According to AFP’s tally, Africa has officially reported 5,354 COVID-19 deaths and 197,823 confirmed cases.
Cameroon has been gripped by violence since a separatist revolt by the country’s English-speaking minority began in October 2017, claiming more than 3,000 lives and forcing nearly 700,000 people to flee their homes.
The Democratic Republic of Congo came in second on the list, followed by Burkina Faso, which was added to the list for the first time.
“The deep crises represented by millions of displaced Africans are yet again the most underfunded, ignored and deprioritised in the world,” Egeland said.
“Despite facing a tornado of emergencies, their SOS calls for help fall on deaf ears,” he added.
The NRC’s list is based on three criteria: lack of funding to respond to humanitarian needs, lack of media coverage, and political negligence.