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Which humanitarian stories pulled in the most readers in 2021?

Our top 12 most popular articles of the year.

We wish we didn’t have to write the stories that became our most popular in 2021. Yet this was another year when the world’s attention was drawn to our beat, as humanitarian crises old and new drew global attention – however briefly.

Since we cover under-reported countries and topics before and after they are a flash in the news pan, it’s no surprise that some of our coverage only really takes off with a wider audience when humanitarian emergencies break into the mainstream. This was particularly the case with our Haiti coverage predating the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, and for our analysis of the escalating situation in Israel and Palestine.

The majority of our most popular articles for the year, however, were stories only we would report on: centred on forgotten crises, or on aid policy and practice. Wouldn’t it be nice if next year’s most popular article featured the huge gains made in tackling global hunger? We live in hope…

(Compiled by TNH Product and Engagement Editor Whitney Patterson.)

As hunger rises, Philippine authorities take aim at critics

Soaring food prices, rising hunger: Lockdowns, disasters, and a stumbling economy squeeze food supplies amid another coronavirus wave.

Haiti still awaiting first COVID vaccines, as cases surge

After initially refusing AstraZeneca doses due to blood clotting fears, the government now finds its rollout stalled by delivery delays.

Nigeria’s secret programme to lure top Boko Haram defectors

The jihadist conflict in the northeast is stalemated. But is forgiving some of the worst killers the right way to bring peace?

The risk of another Israel-Palestine war

Can calls for calm stop a spiralling situation?

Oxfam faces new misconduct allegations in Iraq

New Oxfam misconduct claims in Iraq surface. Where will it end for the charity, and what does it mean for other NGOs?

UN accused of mismanaging Tigray refugee response

Leadership failures have left tens of thousands of refugees at risk of abuse, diplomats charge.

New sex abuse claims against aid workers in Congo

Claims of sexual abuse by aid workers during the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo are more widespread than previously reported, a new investigation finds.

Why aid volunteers need to learn some humility

Jetting off to help orphans in a far-flung country may seem like a good look. It often isn’t, and it can do more harm than good.

South Africa’s daunting COVID-19 vaccine rollout

The government target is to vaccinate 40 million people by the beginning of next year. Here’s why that’s such an ambitious goal.

New Yemen aid fund is flush with cash, but short on details

The Famine Relief Fund has money to spend in Yemen, and fast. Who’s behind it, and where’s the cash coming from?

How do you end banditry in Nigeria’s northwest?

Zamfara is at the centre of Nigeria’s bandit industry – time is running out to prevent the criminals from completely taking over.

Sex-for-food aid allegations in Burkina Faso

Eight accounts in one town may be the tip of the iceberg, and show what little priority has been given to preventing sexual abuse in the response.

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