Forgotten Crises: Shedding Light on Urgent Global Humanitarian Needs

Forgotten Crises: Shedding Light on Urgent Global Humanitarian Needs

Since the start of the 21st century, over the past two decades the world has witnessed one of its most tumultuous periods characterised by escalating conflict, crises, disasters, and the looming threat of climate change. This stands in stark contrast to the the period between 1990 and 2000, marked by a semblance of stability and diminished tensions. However, with the proliferation of conflicts and their underlying causes on a global scale, attention spans have grown shorter, and crises quickly fade into obscurity as new ones emerge. The media’s portrayal of these rapid shifts in conflict dynamics underscores the urgency of humanitarian concerns, as international cooperation falters and efforts to address crises become increasingly fragmented. These challenges highlight the pressing need for a concerted global response to mitigate the long-term consequences of violence and bolster resilience in the face of humanitarian emergencies.

This month, the Diaspora Humanitarian Exchange Group (DHEG) is directing its attention towards forgotten crises – those that receive insufficient international attention but require urgent intervention due to the vulnerability of affected communities. Although the concept of disregarded humanitarian emergencies is not new, it was not until 2004 that global institutions initiated successive rounds of risk assessments. These assessments, referred to as the Forgotten Crises Assessment (FCA), rely on four primary indicators: the Vulnerability Index, Media Coverage, Public Aid (ODA) Per Capita, and Qualitative Evaluations conducted by geographical units and experts.

AI-generated image of hospitals under attack

Neglected crises are categorised across various tiers. Some draw considerable attention from media and global political circles, only to eventually fade away despite their enduring impact, whether arising from conflict or disaster. Then there exists another tier, unnoticed by the world, absent from news headlines and public consciousness, yet persisting and profoundly affecting vulnerable populations and communities. It’s deeply regrettable and disheartening that even amidst heightened calls for international intervention and humanitarian aid seen in recent years, the world’s timeline is now dictated by events rather than calendars. Simply put, it’s increasingly common to inquire, “Did this event occur before or after such-and-such crisis?” I can’t seem to recall. Within this classification, lie crises intentionally excluded from global agendas due to competing priorities, all contributing to the landscape of neglected crises. It’s truly unfortunate that humanitarian crises have become intricately intertwined, making their detection or recognition increasingly challenging – and politicised.

Thirteen years ago, around this time, the Syrian populace initiated a civil uprising, which was met with approximately six months of armed suppression, eventually evolving into a grave conflict fueled by various coalitions against civilians seeking international backing to defend their cause. Nevertheless, the government’s insistence on a military resolution tragically escalated into a severe humanitarian crisis, now among the many forgotten crises. According to recent statistics from United Nations organizations, the country is grappling with 16.7 million individuals in need, comprising 5.2 million refugees and 6.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), with 5.1 million individuals densely packed in northwest Syria, including 2 million IDPs residing in camps. Over 2.5 million Syrian children remain without access to education, and more than 30 percent of the population are being disabled. The humanitarian situation is further deteriorating due to the recent earthquake disaster, resulting in countless displacements and exacerbating vulnerabilities among women, children, the elderly, and the infirm.

AI’s Artistic Advocacy for Forgotten Crises:

As the media and communications play pivotal roles in bringing any crisis to the forefront of global attention and advocating for its cause. As one of the outcomes of advocacy efforts by members of the Diaspora Humanitarian Exchange Group (DHEG), Hand in Hand for Aid and Development (HiHFAD), in collaboration with the Syrian Networks League (SNL), the concept of harnessing artificial intelligence to depict the severity of the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria on its thirteenth anniversary was emphasized. This innovative approach views AI as an independent fictional character expressing its perspective on visually representing aspects of the humanitarian crisis. The initiative and artwork are titled ” Echoes of Humanity: AI’s Voice for the Forgotten Syrian Crisis” with the rallying cry ” Empowering empathy through AI-driven art, spotlighting the human narratives of the Syrian crisis.” #RememberSyria #AIAdvocacy

This project was a culmination of more than 15 continuous hours of meticulous work, leveraging advanced artistic production methodologies. The process involved a comprehensive approach, starting from conceptualising the artwork scenario to meticulously storyboarding each scene. Extensive research was conducted to gather relevant information and facts, ensuring accuracy and authenticity in the portrayal of the subject matter. Utilizing cutting-edge AI  tools, various scenes and human situations were creatively expressed, requiring intricate technical maneuvers and thoughtful execution. The integration of AI technology played a pivotal role in generating nuanced visual representations, adding depth and complexity to the artistic narrative.

Moreover, the crafting of texts and initial sketches demanded careful diligence, with each element meticulously refined to resonate with the overarching message of the artwork. Key advocacy messages were carefully formulated, capturing the essence of the humanitarian cause being championed. Finally, the culmination of these efforts resulted in the creation of a compelling graphic booklet, meticulously designed to shed light on the pressing issue at hand. It is with great enthusiasm that we present this work, hoping to spark meaningful dialogue and inspire action towards positive change.

The series of images range from dark to light and ends with this optimistic note

For more information on the Diaspora Humanitarian Exchange Group visit our page here.

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