No room for another humanitarian crisis

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Maybe news print television news programs only have so much space to fill with what (they think) we need to know. But the new communications┬ámedia cover such boundless terrain, there’s no excuse but apathy or lack of depth in their news staffs for the lack of coverage of some (many) geopolitical hotspots where people are living with existential crises.

Like the Ivory Coast, for crying out loud.

More than a million people have fled their homes in the Ivory Coast, a nation that appears to be slowly sliding towards a full-scale civil war. This is the dramatic situation facing the people of this West African country and was the subject of an appeal on Wednesday by Pope Benedict who called for urgent dialogue between the opposing sides. With Libya and Japan hogging the headlines, little attention is being paid by the international media to this under-reported and worsening humanitarian crisis in the Ivory Coast caused by the massive displacement of people, many of whom have crossed the border into neighbouring Liberia. Susy Hodges spoke to Antonio Cabral, the regional manager for west Africa for the catholic development agency, CAFOD, who has just spent 10 days in the Ivory Coast /Liberia border area. Cabral says the situation is very grave and not getting the attention or funding that it deserves:

“The situation is very serious because basically what we are witnessing is civil war in Ivory Coast and people are fleeing… with nothing, basically running for their lives and so the needs are huge.”

Asked whether he believes the crisis has been rather forgotten about, Cabral replies: “I’m afraid so, the media doesn’t seem to have space for a big humanitarian crisis in the Ivory Coast, maybe because there is no oil or maybe the other 2 crises (in Libya and Japan) have got all the headlines but it is a huge crisis and it’s very important that we raise the profile on this … because people are suffering and are in need of our help.”

Wherever else the media go, they probably don’t go here, one of the best places people can help people.

UPDATE: This is getting worse.

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