Saturday, September 14, 2019

Displaced People Ignored

Natural disasters have already forced 7 million people from their homes in 2019. Experts expect the number to triple by the end of the year as mass displacement becomes "the norm." 

Nearly 11 million people were driven from their homes in the first half of 2019, 7 million of them because of natural catastrophes like cyclones and floods. Conflict and violence also drove 3.8 million people from their homes this year.

The number of displacements will triple to 22 million by the end of the year, according to  the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) estimates, making 2019 one of the worst years on record. Typically there is a rise in extreme weather towards the end of the year.

"These figures are alarmingly high, particularly as we are only half way through the year. They show that the causes of conflict and inequality are not being addressed, and that displacement is creating cyclical patterns of crisis and vulnerability,” said Alexandra Bilak, IDMC's director.

Little known catastrophes like Cyclone Fani and Cyclone Ida and mass flooding in Iran as examples of extreme weather that have led to large-scale displacement.  More than 3.4 million people fled their homes as part of planned evacuations in the lead-up to Cyclone Fani. High levels of displacement can represent success. While homes were lost, adequate evacuation procedures allowed the displaced to survive Cyclone Fani and return after the storm had passed.

"The international community cannot continue to ignore internally displaced people,” said Bilak. She calls for support of governmental efforts to help displaced people, foster peace, and curb the speed and effects of climate. "Only then will we be able to reduce the upheaval, trauma and impoverishment that many millions of people suffer each year, and reverse the trends laid out in this report.”

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