Intense storms, persistent conflicts and outbreaks of violence forced 40.5 million people to move to their countries recently last year.
Conflicts and natural disasters forced someone to flee their own country every second of last year, which raised the number of people living in internal displacement to an all-time high, according to a new report.
This came despite strict restrictions on movement imposed around the world in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, which observers had hoped would reduce the number of trips last year.
But 2020 was also marked by intense storms, persistent conflict and outbreaks of violence, which forced 40.5 million people to move nine within their countries, according to the joint report released Thursday by the US Monitoring Center. Internal Displacement (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council. (NRC).
This is the highest number of nine displaced reported in ten years and brings the total number of people living in internally displaced persons (IDPs) worldwide to a record 55 million, according to the report.
Shocking: Our latest report shows that a person was forced to flee their home in their own country every second of last year. We are desperately failing to protect the world’s most vulnerable people from conflict and disaster. https://t.co/5PSFRA98ch pic.twitter.com/rQoeqVQqva
– Jan Egeland (@NRC_Egeland) May 20, 2021
The number of internally displaced people is now more than double the approximately 26 million people who have fled the borders as refugees.
NRC chief Jan Egeland described the report’s findings as “shocking”.
“We are failing to protect the world’s most vulnerable people from conflict and disaster,” it said in a statement.
The report found that three-quarters of people who fled internally last year were victims of natural disasters, particularly those related to extreme weather.
Heavy cyclones, monsoon rains and floods affected heavily exposed and densely populated areas in Asia and the Pacific, while the Atlantic hurricane season “was the most active recorded,” he said.
“Extended rainy seasons in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa ripped off millions more.”
Experts say climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of these extreme weather events.
In addition, nearly 10 million graduates last year fled conflict and violence, according to the report.
“Of the nearly 10 million people displaced by the conflict last year, most were in the DRC [the Democratic Republic of the Congo], Syria and Ethiopia, “Egeland said.” These people risked their lives to flee, despite the blockades and violence of COVID. “
The report added that the escalation of violence and the expansion of armed groups in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Burkina Faso had fueled some of the world’s fastest-growing displacement crises last year.
Widespread conflicts such as those in Syria, Afghanistan and the DRC had also continued to force large numbers of people to flee.
Unlike disaster-induced displacement, which usually lasts little when people rebuild damaged or destroyed homes once storms have passed, conflict-driven displacement can last for years.
All less than seven million of the 55 million people living in internal displacement at the end of last year had fled the conflict, according to the report.
He also warned that the convergence of conflicts and natural disasters exacerbates the problem, as 95% of last year’s new conflict displacements occur in countries vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
“Climate change and overexploitation of natural resources can exacerbate instability and conflict, which in turn can lead to displacement.”