Ten million people displaced internally by conflict in 2018

Syrian children react as they leave their home following reported regime shelling on Hama and Idlib provinces, on May 1, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 10 May 2019
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Ten million people displaced internally by conflict in 2018

  • The new figure brings the total number of people currently living in internal displacement due to violence to 41.3 million
  • On top of those forced from their homes by violence, 17.2 million people were internally displaced by natural disasters last year

GENEVA: Conflict forced more than 10 million people to flee their homes to live elsewhere within their own country last year, bringing the total number of people internally displaced by violence to a record high, monitors said Friday.
The new figure brings the total number of people currently living in internal displacement due to violence to 41.3 million, an all-time high, according to a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
"It is really a mind-boggling figure," NRC chief Jan Egeland told reporters in Geneva.
"It takes extreme violence and fear of disasters to force a family out of their home, their land, their property, their community," he stressed.
Including those uprooted from their homes by natural disasters as well as conflicts, a total of 28 million people were displaced internally in 2018, the report said.
A full 10.8 million of new internally displaced people (IDPs) last year were fleeing conflict, with strife in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria, as well as intercommunal tensions in Ethiopia, Cameroon and Nigeria responsible for most of the displacements, the study said.
The number of people currently living as IDPs is far higher than the some 25 million who have fled across borders as refugees.
Surprisingly perhaps, the report found that the highest number of new internal displacements last year was in Ethiopia, with a full 2.9 million people fleeing their homes inside the East African country, where communal clashes, typically sparked by land disputes, are common.
Strife-torn DRC came in second, with 1.8 million fresh IDPs in 2018, followed by Syria with 1.6 million new internal displacements.
But in total, Syria, ravaged by eight years of war, counts 6.1 million IDPs, in addition to around the same number of Syrians still living as refugees.
On top of those forced from their homes by violence, 17.2 million people were internally displaced by natural disasters last year, Friday's report found.
Tropical cyclones and monsoon floods forced nearly 10 million to flee inside the Philippines, China and India.
IDMC chief Alexandra Bilak told reporters that most of those displacements were linked to government-orchestrated evacuations ahead of natural disasters.
"This of course saves lives, but demonstrates that there are still too many people in those countries who are exposed to extreme events," she said.
Hundreds of thousands of people were also forced from their homes in California last year by the most destructive wildfires in the state's history.
Some 22,000 people remain displaced by those fires, Bilak said.


Iran’s Khamenei: Tehran will not leave UK piracy unanswered

Updated 15 min 31 sec ago
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Iran’s Khamenei: Tehran will not leave UK piracy unanswered

  • The Iranian supertanker, carrying 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil, was seized with the help of British Royal Marines
  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the seizure of the ship “piracy”

DUBAI: Iran’s top leader says his country will retaliate over the seizure of an Iranian tanker by British authorities.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the seizure of the ship “piracy” in a televised speech Tuesday, saying: “God willing, the Islamic Republic and its committed forces will not leave this evilness without a response.”
The Iranian supertanker, carrying 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil, was seized with the help of British Royal Marines earlier this month off Gibraltar.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Saturday that Britain will facilitate the release the ship if Iran can provide guarantees the vessel will not breach European sanctions on oil shipments to Syria. Tensions have soared in the Persian Gulf over the past year as the Trump administration has ramped up sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.