Nine news stories that should have made bigger headlines in 2015

News generally isn't a cheery business. We report when planes fall out of the sky, not every time they take off without a hitch.

For myriad and complicated reasons, some 'here today, gone tomorrow' stories can dominate entire news cycles, and some important issues can fly completely under the radar, receiving far less attention.

Here are nine ongoing crises around the world that deserve more attention in 2016:

1. The Central American refugee crisis

People are detained by agents of the Mexican Immigration Service in San Mateo, Chiapas state, Mexico, on June 20, 2015 (ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

Drug cartel violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala has driven thousands north to Mexico, which is fighting internal wars against narco gangs of its own.

The US has spent millions of dollars on funding Mexican programmes to find and deport non-citizens, effectively stopping them from reaching the US border.

2. The civilian cost of war in Yemen

Yemenis stand at the site of a Saudi air strike against Huthi rebels near Sanaa Airport on March 26, 2015, which killed at least 13 civilians(MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The sectarian civil war, which became a full-scale conflict in March of this year, has largely escaped Western media attention.

Schools, hospitals, markets and a displaced persons camp have all been targeted by Saudi-led airstrikes. Around 6,000 people have died and 2.5million have fled their homes.

Amnesty International says that 80 per cent of the 21million strong population are in need of aid.

3. The Chibok girls are still missing

Relatives weep at a rally marking 500 days since the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls in Abuja, on August 27, 2015 (Image: AFP/Getty)

More than 200 girls were kidnapped from their boarding school in northern Nigeria in April 2014 by Boko Haram.

Fifty-seven managed to escape, but bar one video showing around 100 girls released by Boko Haram a month after they were taken, nothing has been heard of the rest.

The girls' relatives have kept up pressure on the government to rescue them but as the security situation worsens almost all hope has dwindled.

4. Worsening impact of El Niño

18 million people in northern Ethiopia are facing a food crisis because of drought (Image WFP/Melese Awoke, December 2nd 2015)

Countries across Africa, Asia and the Caribbean are suffering from a strengthened El Niño weather pattern.

El Niño is the name given to the effects of Pacific Ocean surface temperature rise, which changes wind patterns and causes flooding, drought and affects harvests in various parts of the world.

It's hard to measure its true scale since the effects are so diverse and widespread - but according to Oxfam, up to 50million people across the world will face water and/or food shortages because of El Niño in 2016.

5. Brazil's political meltdown

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff photographed on March 1st,2015 in Rio de Janiero (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Impeachment proceedings have been opened against Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, who is embroiled in a continuously-widening corruption investigation involving state-owned oil company Petrobras and the 2016 Olympic Games, as well the reverberations of a collapsing economy.

6. Simmering tensions in Burundi

Burundian refugees gather at Lake Tanganyika on the Rwandan border (Daniel Hayduk/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 210,000 people have fled post-election violence since Burundi's sitting president Pierre Nkurunziza changed the constitution to give himself a third term. The country's fragile peace is under threat as tensions between the army and political groups simmer under the surface.

7. Government killings in Sudan and South Sudan

A woman and her children displaced by fighting in South Sudan sit outside her tent at the Kule camp at the Pagak border crossing in Gambella, Ethiopia, on July 10, 2014 (Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images)

The government is still carrying out atrocities against its people in Darfur and Kordofan as it tries to fight separatist groups. The newly-created nation of South Sudan has also been plagued by conflict since its birth in 2011.

8. War in the Central African Republic

A man holds a knife to his throat claiming that he is looking for Muslims to cut off their heads in the 5th district of Bangui on February 9, 2014. (ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 5,000 people have died and one million have been displaced since renewed fighting in the Central African Republic broke out again three years ago after president François Bozizé was deposed by Muslim rebel coalition Selaka.

The fighting is generally of a sectarian nature - Christians vs Muslims - and bandits and armed groups are responsible for looting and destroying property, disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture and endemic rape.

9. The US and UK sold at least £2.6bn in arms to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Emir of Mecca, Prince Khalid bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz (R) welcomes British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) as he arrives in Jeddah on November 6, 2012 (AMER HILABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Weapons export licenses for just the first half of 2015 show the UK sold £1.75bn worth of mostly aircraft equipment to Saudi Arabia.

In November, Washington inked a deal worth £8.49m in smart bombing technology to the Wahabist state.

In the last five years, the US alone has sold $100billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, plenty of which regional experts say end up used to target civilians or in the wrong hands altogether in several sectarian conflicts across the Middle East.

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