“The world is collapsing” about 60 million displaced people in the world

Women wait for a food distribution at a camp for the displaced on February 14, 2022 in Baidoa, Somalia. (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Archives)

Conflicts and natural disasters forced millions to flee within their countries last year, raising the total number of displaced people to a record high of nearly 60 million, according to a study released by NGOs on Thursday.

The number of internally displaced people reached 59.1 million in 2021, nearly half of whom were under the age of 18, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

IDPs around the world
Internally displaced people around the world (Gal Roma / AFP)

From year to year, this figure – which does not take into account refugees abroad – continues to grow and a new record should be set in this regard in 2022 due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24.

It is the second highest annual figure in ten years, after 2020, which saw a record number of displacements due to a series of natural disasters.

Alexandra Bilak, Director of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, warned Alexandra Bilac at a press conference that “the year 2022 will be dark”, in particular the war in Ukraine.

Thus more than eight million people have been displaced within Ukraine, more than two months after the country was invaded by Russia, according to the United Nations.

Residents evacuated from Mariupol arrive in Zaporizhia on May 3, 2022 in Ukraine.
Residents evacuated from Mariupol arrive in Zaporizhia on May 3, 2022 in Ukraine (Dimitar DILKOFF/AFP/Archives)

The Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, noted that the situation in the world “has never been this bad” and emphasized that “the world is collapsing”.

“The situation today is much worse than our record suggests. We need world leaders to make a giant shift in their thinking about conflict avoidance and resolution, in order to end this escalation in the stock of human suffering,” he said.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Last year, sub-Saharan Africa was the region with the highest number of internal displacements (many people moved multiple times), including more than five million in Ethiopia alone, a country with a serious drought and where conflict erupted at the end of 2020. in the Tigray region.

Farborough Camp 2 for the displaced, April 6, 2022 near Jodi, Ethiopia
Farburo 2 camp for displaced people, April 6, 2022 near Gode, Ethiopia (EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP/Archives)

This is the highest number ever recorded in a single country.

Unprecedented numbers were also recorded last year in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Afghanistan, where the Taliban’s return to power along with drought forced many people to flee their homes.

In Burma, where the military took power after the February 2021 coup, the number of displaced people has also reached a record level.

On the other hand, the Middle East and North Africa region recorded the lowest levels of new displacement in ten years, with conflicts in Syria, Libya and Iraq experiencing some decline, but the total number of displaced people in the region remains. Average.

Thus, Syria continues to have the largest number of internally displaced persons due to the conflict, 6.7 million at the end of 2021. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (5.3 million) and Colombia (5.2 million), as well as Afghanistan and Yemen (4.3 million), come next. all).

Natural disasters

Although the number of people displaced by conflict continues to increase, natural disasters remain the main reason forcing people to flee their homes (23.7 million displacements in 2021).

A camp for the displaced in Idlib governorate, on January 13, 2022 in Syria.
A camp for the displaced in Idlib Governorate, January 13, 2022 in Syria (Abdulaziz Kataz / AFP / archive)

At least 94% of these displacements are attributable to meteorological and climatic disasters, such as hurricanes, floods and droughts, phenomena that are increasing in frequency and intensity due to climate change.

70% of internal displacement associated with natural disasters in 2021 was recorded in China, the Philippines, and India.

Mr. Egeland noted that conflict and natural disasters increasingly go hand in hand.

In places like Mozambique, Burma, Somalia and South Sudan, crises are intertwined, affecting food security and increasing the vulnerability of millions of people.

Leave a Comment