One family flees their home ‘every minute’

One family flees their home ‘every minute’

GENEVA - Agence France-Presse
One family flees their home ‘every minute’

Norwegian Refugee Council secretary-general Egeland gestures during a press conference in Geneva. AFP Photo

The war in Syria is driving one family from their home every minute, pushing the number of people internally displaced by conflict to record highs globally, a report said on May 14.

The study by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) said that 33.3 million people were displaced by violence in their own nations last year. The report showed that just five countries accounted for two-thirds of the tally: Syria, Colombia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

Internally displaced people (IDPs) are those who flee their homes but do not leave their country, as opposed to those who cross a border and are counted as refugees.

While the bulk of the 33.3 million were people who had already fled before 2013, including some displaced over a decade ago, the total of new IDPs reached 8.2 million by the end of the year, the report said.

Of those, nearly half were in Syria. With 9,500 people a day, approximately one family every 60 seconds, being displaced inside Syria, the country remains the largest and fastest evolving displacement crisis in the world.

Brahimi resigns

“The IDMC report reveals a frightening reality of life inside Syria, now the largest internal displacement crisis in the world,” said former U.N. aid chief Jan Egeland, who now runs the Norwegian Refugee Council, of which the IMDC is part. “Not only do armed groups control the areas where internal displacement camps are located, these camps are badly managed, provide inadequate shelter, sanitation and limited aid delivery,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Lakhdar Brahimi has resigned as the U.N. and Arab League mediator for Syria after international efforts to find a political solution to the three-year-old civil war failed.

“I thought we’d be able to deliver but because of divisions we have not been able to make any progress in the course of three years,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Ban and Brahimi appeared together to announce the resignation, which takes effect at the end of the month. Brahimi, who was to meet later in the day to brief senior envoys on the 15-member U.N. Security Council, said he was “very sad ... (to) leave Syria behind in such a bad state.” Ban, however, praised Brahimi, saying he had faced “almost impossible odds” but had “persevered with great patience.”