A record high number — 71 million people — were reported internally displaced in 2022 because of war or natural disasters, according to a report published Thursday by the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre counted the number of people who were displaced within their country’s borders, also called internally displaced people. The report does not account for refugees, or those who left their countries.

The report said events that pushed the total number of displaced people up 20% from 2021 included the war in Ukraine, natural disasters like weather phenomenon La Nina and ongoing effects from the global pandemic.

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Why so many?

The number of people displaced due to conflict and violence totaled more than 62 million, The Washington Post said, with 5.9 million people in Ukraine internally displaced because of the war against Russia.

The article said Syria had 6.8 million displaced people because of conflict there.

The report said the number of people displaced due to natural disasters was 8.7 million, “up 45% from 2021,” The Associated Press added.

La Nina, the weather phenomenon that causes drastic disturbances every few years, “contributed to record levels of flood displacement in Pakistan, Nigeria and Brazil and to the worst drought on record in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia,” per The Associated Press.

Internal displacements, defined in the report as the number of forced movements of people within the borders of their country, was 28.3 million — three times higher in 2022 than the annual average from the last decade.

The report made a special note of Haiti, which contributed to about 106,000 internal displacements. This increase was five times higher than in 2021 and the highest figure ever recorded for the country.

The Washington Post said that 10 countries make up almost 75% of the world’s internationally displaced people, including Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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The future

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As for the year 2023, displacements are already starting to be recorded.

According to The Associated Press, “The United Nations migration agency said this week that 700,000 people have already been internally displaced in a matter of weeks by the conflict in Sudan between the army and a rival paramilitary group.”

Alexandra Bilak, the displacement monitoring center’s director, told The Washington Post, “Today’s displacement crises are growing in scale, complexity and scope,” adding that “greater resources and further research are essential to help understand and better respond to (displaced people’s) needs.”

The need for solutions to meet the challenges facing displaced people is increasing, Bilak said on the center’s website, adding that, “This spans the expansion of cash assistance and livelihood programmes that improve IDPs’ economic security, through to investments in risk reduction measures that strengthen their communities’ resilience.”

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