The growing number of refugees around the world is overshadowed by the even greater numbers of internally displaced people, or IDPs, who have not crossed an international border in search of shelter and safety. As of the end of 2014, a record-breaking 38 million people were forcibly displaced within their own country by violence, up from 33.3 million for 2013. A massive 11 million of these internally displaced people (IDPs) were newly uprooted during 2014, equal to 30,000 people a day, according to annual figures from the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).
In mid-2014, the UN refugee agency was caring for around 26 million of the world’s IDP population at that time. Like refugees, they were forcibly displaced by conflict, generalized violence and human rights violations. UNHCR helps IDPs as part of a wider intervention by the international community.
The IDMC’s Global Overview 2015 reported that the majority of the increase in new displacement during 2014 was the result of protracted crises in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan and Syria. These five countries accounted for 60 per cent of new displacement worldwide.
Iraqi civilians suffered the most new displacement, with at least 2.2 million displaced in 2014, while at least 40 per cent of Syria’s population, or 7.6 million people, have been displaced – the highest number in the world. And Europe, for the first time in more than a decade, suffered massive enforced displacement. This was caused by war in eastern Ukraine, where more than 640,000 people fled their homes in 2014.