UN report: 22 million people displaced by disasters in 2013
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULSep 24, 2014 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Sep 24, 2014 12:00 am
The report "Global Estimates 2014: People displaced by disasters" conducted by the Norwegian Refugee Council's Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) shows that 22 million people were internally displaced in 2013 as a result of disaster. The numbers are three times higher than those who were internally displaced by conflict. The report also estimates that "the risk of displacement has doubled over the last 40 years." Taking climate change issue into consideration, the growth and concentration of urban populations, particularly in vulnerable countries, are seen as crucial factors that lead to displacement.
"This increasing trend will continue as more and more people live and work in hazard-prone areas. It is expected to be aggravated in the future by the impacts of climate change," said Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, at a conference at U.N. headquarters.
The Philippines, China and India are the countries with the largest populations of internally displaced people (IDP) caused by natural disasters.
The worst affected by disaster induced displacement are Asian countries "where 19 million people, or 87.1 percent of the global total, were displaced." The devastating impact of natural disasters including floods, storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and wildfires has created vulnerable populations. As the world requires an immediate action plan to fight climate change, world leaders met in New York to tackle the issue with 125 heads of state and government at U.N. headquarters in an effort to secure a legally binding global climate change deal with the developed world in 2015.
A quite terrifying outbreak of political extremism around the world suggests that the number of IDP could grow even higher in 2014. A U.N.-backed report on world-wide conflict-induced displacement reveals that internal displacement caused by armed conflict, situations of generalized violence or violations of human rights is a worsening humanitarian crisis. Syria, Iraq, Columbia and Nigeria are the countries suffering most from conflict-induced displacement. The annual report "Global Overview 2014: People internally displaced by conflict and violence" released in May 2014 by the IDMC shows a staggering increase in global displacement worldwide with particular regard to the cases in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.
According to IDP figures analysis of Syria, there are at least 6.5 million IDP living in Syria as of May 2014. The report shows that 30 percent of the total population has been internally displaced. The indicated number is likely to increase as the war in Syria has been escalating, severely affecting civilians' lives. The Syria Integrated Needs Assessments (SINA) reports a figure of 4.1 million IDP in 111 of 272 sub-districts countrywide.
Iraq has long been suffering from the volatility of its security situation. The IDMC estimates that at least 2.8 million Iraqis were internally displaced as of Sept. 8, 2014. According to their figures, from Dec. 2013 to Aug. 2014 1.7 million Iraqis have been displaced due to the growing conflict in the country.
Apart from the Middle East, Colombia in South America is one of the countries with the largest populations of IDP worldwide. The country suffers from an increasing number of IDP due to internal armed conflict and violence stretching back over five decades. It is estimated that 5.7 million people have been internally displaced. Ethnic minorities, such as Afro-Colombians and indigenous groups comprise a significant number of all IDP. The violent conflict between armed groups and the Columbian national army poses significant threats to individuals and communities while causing mass displacements. Widespread human rights abuses and violence force many Columbians to flee their country.
The IDP figure analysis of Nigeria indicates that there are 3.3 million IDP there. The government-led counterinsurgency operations in northeastern Nigeria against violent attacks by the militant group Boko Haram has prompted fears while forcing many to relocate.
The IDMC's IDP figures analysis for Palestine shows that 339,600 people were displaced in the Gaza Strip during the Israeli military's Protective Edge operation that was launched on July 8. Since the start of Israel's occupation in 1967, the figures show that the total number of IDP in the Gaza Strip and the rest of Palestine have reached 497,000. Due to the eight-year-long Gaza siege and largely closed borders, the internally displaced Palestinians cannot move to any other place, except Gaza or seek safety in neighboring countries. Nearly 25 percent of Gaza's 1.8 million people have been forcibly displaced within the small territory.