Record 38 million people internally displaced by conflicts

1 / 2
2 / 2
Updated 07 May 2015
0

Record 38 million people internally displaced by conflicts

GENEVA: Conflicts and violence in places like Syria and Ukraine have displaced a record 38 million people inside their own countries, equivalent to the total populations of New York, London and Beijing, a watchdog group said Wednesday.
Nearly one third of them — a full 11 million people — were displaced last year alone, with an average of 30,000 people fleeing their homes every day, the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) said in a report.
“These are the worst figures for forced displacement in a generation, signalling our complete failure to protect innocent civilians,” said Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council which is behind the IDMC.
Internally displaced people (IDPs) is a label given to people who remain in their homeland, as opposed to refugees, who flee across borders.
Today there are nearly twice as many IDPs in the world as refugees, the IDMC report said, without providing an exact figure for refugees.
According to UN statistics, some 16.7 million people were living as refugees worldwide at the end of 2013.
The numbers of people internally displaced last year meanwhile marked a 14-percent rise over the year before and dwarfed figures seen at the peak of the Darfur crisis in 2004, the spiralling violence in Iraq in the mid-2000s, or in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, the IDMC said.
“This report should be a tremendous wake-up call,” Egeland said.
“We must break this trend where millions of men, women and children are becoming trapped in conflict zones around the world,” he added.

Iraq hardest hit
A full 60 percent of newly displaced people last year were in just five countries: Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.
Iraq was the hardest hit, with 2.2 million people forced to flee inside the country from areas seized by the brutal Islamic State group.
The IS jihadists also added to the horrors forcing people to leave their homes in civil war-ravaged Syria.
Around one million more people were internally displaced in Syria last year, bringing the total number of IDPs there to 7.6 million, or 40 percent of the population.
Ukraine meanwhile appeared in IDMC’s report for the first time, with 646,500 people internally displaced there in 2014 as the country was engulfed by fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Kiev forces.


North Korea road accident causes ‘heavy casualties’: China

Updated 23 April 2018
0

North Korea road accident causes ‘heavy casualties’: China

  • The vast majority of foreign tourists to North Korea are Chinese, with the Cold War-era allies sharing a long land border and operating flights between the two countries
  • The accident occurred in North Hwanghae province, the foreign ministry said

BEIJING: A road accident in North Korea has caused “heavy casualties” among Chinese tourists, the foreign ministry in Beijing said on Monday.
The ministry provided few details but China’s state broadcaster CGTN earlier tweeted that more than 30 people died when a tour bus fell from a bridge in North Korea. The tweet was later deleted.
China was informed about the accident on Sunday night, and its embassy personnel in Pyongyang rushed to the scene and are working to manage the situation, the foreign ministry statement said.
The vast majority of foreign tourists to North Korea are Chinese, with the Cold War-era allies sharing a long land border and operating flights between the two countries.
Western visitors to the North once averaged around 5,000 a year, but numbers have been hit recently by a US travel ban — Americans accounted for around 20 percent of the market — and official warnings from other countries.
Tens of thousands of Chinese tourists are believed to visit the North every year, with many crossing via train through the Chinese border city of Dandong. For some, North Korea provides a window into what Communist China may have looked like decades ago.
Chinese tourism to the North has continued even though Beijing has enforced a slew of United Nations sanctions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.
The accident occurred in North Hwanghae province, the foreign ministry said.
The province lies south of the capital and stretches to the border with the South, including the city of Kaesong, an ancient Korean capital with historical sites.
More recently, the area hosted a manufacturing complex operated with South Korea.
The tour group was traveling by bus from Kaesong to Pyongyang when the accident happened, according to the independent Seoul-based website NK News, which cited an unnamed source.
State broadcaster CCTV showed images of a large overturned vehicle with light rain falling on rescue vehicles and doctors attending to a patient in its news broadcast of the incident.
North Korean roads are largely poor and potholed, and in many areas they are dirt rather than tarmac.
Bridges are sometimes out of commission, requiring rivers to be forded or vehicles to take detours.
But the route from Pyongyang to Kaesong, where the accident reportedly happened, is one of the best in the country.
It runs north-south from Sinuiju on the Chinese border to the Demilitarized Zone on the border with the South, but nonetheless has little traffic, like all North Korean highways.
Tank traps have been installed along it in many locations toward the frontier — sets of high concrete columns on either side of the road that can easily be blown up to create an obstruction for invading armor.
China’s foreign ministry said it was still verifying details of the situation.
The ministry said it activated an emergency mechanism Sunday night and is “sparing no efforts” to handle the situation, the statement said.