China, DR Congo most affected by displacements in 2016

Last year, more than 31 million people were forced to flee their homes and subsist within their country's borders, often under dire conditions, due to natural disasters and human conflict, according to a global analysis released Monday.

East Asia and the Pacific accounted for two-thirds of the displacements related to extreme weather events including storms, floods, wildfires and severe winter conditions in 2016 - nearly double the number for 2015.

Refugees have special status in global law, but if you're forced from your home and stay within your country's borders, you're classified as an "internally displaced person" - an "IDP" - with no guarantee of protection or assistance.

Yet, the report said, "2016 was a year of stark contrast between the attention given to refugees and migrants and the lack of political concern for the millions of people displaced inside their country by conflict, violence and disasters".

"As of the end of 2016, a total of 40.3 million people were displaced within their own country as a result of conflict and violence, some of whom having been displaced for decades", the report said. Some 2.6 million of them were in sub-Saharan Africa, while 824,000 were in Syria, 659,000 in Iraq, 653,000 in Afghanistan and 478,000 in Yemen.

"With the impact of climate change, for example, in the future it is only going to lead to more extreme weather. which will put pressure on resources, which will lead to more conflicts and it contribute to that vicious cycle of displacement", she said.

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Yet more aid was spent previous year on refugee resettlement within donor countries than in the countries where displacement crises originate.

The number will grow unless the underlying causes such as political turmoil and climate change are tackled, an worldwide aid group said on Monday.

The figure was the highest of internal displacement resulting from conflict recorded globally. It said while China, the Philippines and India have the highest absolute numbers, small island states suffer disproportionally once population size is taken into account.

Refugees on the other hand, have crossed global borders and as a result are entitled to legal refugee status, which provides certain rights and protections.

"To the extent that the Global Report on Internal Displacement holds up a mirror, the reflection it projects is one of worldwide indifference, lack of accountability and states failure to protect their own people", Bilak said.

Media registered with the UN Correspondents Association in NY are welcome to attend the launch of the IDMC 2017 Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2017) on 22 May 2017 at 11AM EDT.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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