A record 33.3 million now displaced by war worldwide, as one family flees inside Syria every 60 seconds - Report

Press Releases, 14 May 2014

33.3 million people were internally displaced at the end of 2013 due to conflict and violence says a new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). This equates to a staggering increase of 4.5 million from 2012, signalling a record high for the second year running.

Today IDMC, part of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), launched its Global Overview 2014 at the United Nations in Geneva, alongside the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The report, which covers internal displacement in 2013 highlights that a full 63% of the record breaking 33.3 million internally displaced people (IDPs) reported worldwide, come from just five countries: Syria, Colombia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan. Including figures for Nigeria for the first time, the report documents that an astounding, 3.3 million Nigerians have been displaced by conflict.

"This record number of people forced to flee inside their own countries confirms a disturbing upward trend of internal displacement since IDMC first began monitoring and analysing displacement back in the late 90s," says Jan Egeland, the Secretary General of NRC.

"The dramatic increase in forced displacement in 2013 and the fact that the average amount of time people worldwide are living in displacement is now a staggering 17 years, all suggest that something is going terribly wrong in how we are responding and dealing with this issue," says Egeland.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres added: "We should all be concerned about these numbers and the continuing upwards trend. We have a shared responsibility to act to end this massive suffering. Immediate protection and assistance for the internally displaced is a humanitarian imperative."

By the end of 2013, 8.2 million people were newly displaced, an increase of 1.6 million compared to the year before. A shocking 43% of all the people newly displaced in 2013 were in Syria.

"The IDMC report reveals a frightening reality of life inside Syria, now the largest internal displacement crisis in the world," says Egeland. "Not only do armed groups control the areas where internal displacement camps are located, these camps are badly managed, provide inadequate shelter, sanitation and limited aid delivery." Further to this, the IDMC report reveals how large concentrations of IDPs have been particularly targeted by artillery bombardments and airstrikes.

With 9,500 people a day (approximately one family every 60 seconds) being displaced inside Syria, the country remains the largest and fastest evolving displacement crisis in the world.

The three countries experiencing the worst levels of new displacement Syria, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) together accounted for 67% of the 8.2 million people newly displaced in the year.

"That these three countries appear top of the IDMC list reveals an alarming reality," said Alfredo Zamudio, Director of IDMC. "They account not only for those fleeing from relatively new crises, as in Syria and CAR, but are also reflective of the horrendous situations still faced by innocent people stuck in the midst protracted conflict, such as the DRC which has suffered persistent turmoil dating back to the mid 90's."

Egeland continues: "These trends do not bode well for the future we have to sit up, listen up and act up by working more closely together to end this misery for millions; humanitarians alone cannot make this happen." "Global internal displacement is everyone's problem, from politicians to private companies, development actors and lawyers we all have a role to play," said Egeland."Global internal displacement is everyone's problem, from politicians to private companies, development actors and lawyers we all have a role to play," said Egeland.

NOTE: The full report, IDMC media contacts, a summary, maps and charts can be downloaded by copying and pasting the following link into a web browser http://www.internal-displacement.org/about-us/idmc-media-centre.

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Thousands of desperate Syrian refugees seek safety in Turkey after outbreak of fresh fighting

Renewed fighting in northern Syria since June 3 has sent a further 23,135 refugees fleeing across the border into Turkey's southern Sanliurfa province. Some 70 per cent of these are women and children, according to information received by UNHCR this week.

Most of the new arrivals are Syrians escaping fighting between rival military forces in and around the key border town of Tel Abyad, which faces Akcakale across the border. They join some 1.77 million Syrian refugees already in Turkey.

However, the influx also includes so far 2,183 Iraqis from the cities of Mosul, Ramadi and Falujjah.

According to UNHCR field staff most of the refugees are exhausted and arrive carrying just a few belongings. Some have walked for days. In recent days, people have fled directly to Akcakale to escape fighting in Tel Abyad which is currently reported to be calm.

Thousands of desperate Syrian refugees seek safety in Turkey after outbreak of fresh fighting

Cold, Uncomfortable and Hungry in Calais

For years, migrants and asylum-seekers have flocked to the northern French port of Calais in hopes of crossing the short stretch of sea to find work and a better life in England. This hope drives many to endure squalid, miserable conditions in makeshift camps, lack of food and freezing temperatures. Some stay for months waiting for an opportunity to stow away on a vehicle making the ferry crossing.

Many of the town's temporary inhabitants are fleeing persecution or conflict in countries such as Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Sudan and Syria. And although these people are entitled to seek asylum in France, the country's lack of accommodation, administrative hurdles and language barrier, compel many to travel on to England where many already have family waiting.

With the arrival of winter, the crisis in Calais intensifies. To help address the problem, French authorities have opened a day centre as well as housing facilities for women and children. UNHCR is concerned with respect to the situation of male migrants who will remain without shelter solutions. Photographer Julien Pebrel recently went to Calais to document their lives in dire sites such as the Vandamme squat and next to the Tioxide factory.

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Abdu finds his voice in Germany

When bombs started raining down on Aleppo, Syria, in 2012, the Khawan family had to flee. According to Ahmad, the husband of Najwa and father of their two children, the town was in ruins within 24 hours.

The family fled to Lebanon where they shared a small flat with Ahmad's two brothers and sisters and their children. Ahmad found sporadic work which kept them going, but he knew that in Lebanon his six-year-old son, Abdu, who was born deaf, would have little chance for help.

The family was accepted by Germany's Humanitarian Assistance Programme and resettled into the small central German town of Wächtersbach, near Frankfurt am Main. Nestled in a valley between two mountain ranges and a forest, the village has an idyllic feel.

A year on, Abdu has undergone cochlear implant surgery for the second time. He now sports two new hearing aids which, when worn together, allow him to hear 90 per cent. He has also joined a regular nursery class, where he is learning for the first time to speak - German in school and now Arabic at home. Ahmed is likewise studying German in a nearby village, and in two months he will graduate with a language certificate and start looking for work. He says that he is proud at how quickly Abdu is learning and integrating.

Abdu finds his voice in Germany

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