“Record displacement should be a wake-up call”

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Some of the 1.3 million internally displaced people in South Sudan. Photo: UN / Martine Perret

The spread of armed conflict which left a record 38 million people homeless in 2014 should be a "wake-up call" to governments and the international community, humanitarian experts said Wednesday.

A study of 60 countries conducted by UNHCR partner the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found that 30,000 people fled their homes every day last year, a level not seen in 10 years of reporting.

Head of NRC Jan Egeland said it was a sign that the world had "fundamental problems" in protecting the vulnerable from "armed brutal men".

Daniel Johnson has more.

Describing the situation as the worst in a generation, Norwegian Refugee Council chief Jan Egeland called the rise in internally displaced people "relentless".

The problem is particularly bad in the Middle East and Africa.

Egeland said that national conflicts had been allowed to get out of control and this had a "domino effect" on internal displacement in other countries.

"We are seeing this happening because we states or authoritarian states are not willing or able to protect their own population, and because the international community is not willing or able to do as we promised to protect the vulnerable and the innocent."

Iraq is a case in point, Egeland said.

The country had the highest numbers of internally displaced people in 2014 at 2.2 million, all forced to flee Isis extremists, the NRC chief said.

According to the NRC report Syria saw an additional 1.1 million people newly displaced last year, with 7.6 million homeless in total.

In Africa, conflict in South Sudan left 1.3 million displaced, while Congo and Nigeria added more than two million to the overall total.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1'15"

 

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