War, climate displaced tens of millions in 2020: Study
A key group that monitors internal displacement said on Thursday that violence and disasters forced people to relocate within their countries more than 40 million times last year, the highest such tally in over a decade. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, in its annual global report, said a record 55 million people were living away from their homes but within their countries.
Number of internally displaced people twice that of refugees
In the last year, storms, floods, protracted and new conflicts, drove up the figures that have been growing for more than a decade. Sometimes people have moved two or three times within the country. The Geneva-based center, which is part of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said the number of internally displaced was more than twice that of refugees at the end of last year.
Over 48 million left their homes because of violence
The figures might be a significant underestimate because COVID-19 travel restrictions impeded the collection of data. "It's shocking that someone was forced to flee their home inside their own country every single second last year," said NRC Secretary-General, Jan Egeland. Of those displaced at the end of the year, some 48 million people had fled conflict and violence and seven million had escaped disasters.
War in Syria and cyclones in the Pacific uprooted millions
The center pointed to escalating violence and wider activity from extremist groups in countries like Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Burkina Faso last year, and ongoing wars in places like Congo, Syria, and Afghanistan. It also noted intense cyclone seasons in the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific, and long rainy seasons in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, saying such weather woes uprooted millions.
China registered displacement of over five million people
Overall, the highest number of internally displaced people last year was in China, which faces floods regularly and local authorities encourage or require internal displacement to get out of the way of rising waters to avoid any kind of harm, followed by the Philippines and Bangladesh. More than five million people in China were forced into internal displacement last year.