Conflicts displace millions around the globe
From World Vision, by Kathryn Reid:
The number of people fleeing conflict and disaster will continue to rise over the next decade, a report from the United Nations’ refugee agency says.
“The State of the World’s Refugees 2012” notes a disturbing trend: a steep rise in the number of people displaced within their own countries.
At the end of 2011, 26.4 million people were displaced by conflict and violence, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre; 3.5 million were newly displaced during the year.
In contrast, refugees and asylum seekers numbered 16 million to 17 million.
Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Iraq, and Sudan have the largest numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) caused by conflict.
The UN report noted while Africa has more IDPs than any other region, the total number there has continued on a downward trend since 2004.
The status of IDPs is fundamentally different from refugees, the UN report emphasizes, because they remain within the borders of their country and the main responsibility for helping them falls on their national government.
In many cases governments of developing countries lack the capacity or the will to aid marginalized groups. Sometimes governments themselves are responsible for the displacement.
Though circumstances vary from country to country, displacement happens around the globe.
Here are some of the top spots:
Colombia – 3.9 million to 5.3 million IDPs. More than 10 percent of the population is displaced, most due to armed groups involved in the drug trade.
Iraq – More than 2 million IDPs. This number has declined since 2008, but after years of conflict a large population still lacks permanent settlement.
Democratic Republic of the Congo – 1.7 million displaced mainly due to a protracted civil war.
An estimated 440,000 (including refugees) who fled the militant Lord’s Resistance Army from Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic.
Middle East and North Africa – 830,000 were displaced during the 2011 Arab Spring revolts.
Afghanistan – At least 450,000 IDPs. As fighting spread to new areas in 2011, new displacements were 80 percent higher than the year before.