The number of people displaced within their country totaled 59.1 million in 2021

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In 2021, a record 59.1 million people were displaced within their countries of origin, four million more than in 2020The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Thursday.

The figure was featured in the Global Report on Internal Displacement, a study produced by the IOM partner Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

According to this analysis, the displaced live in 141 countries and territories and for the last 15 years it has been mainly disasters that have caused their displacement, significantly outweighing uprooting related to conflict and violence.

Last year followed the trend with 23.7 million displaced by climate-related events -such as floods, storms and cyclones-, especially in Asia.

The IOM warned that the expected impacts of climate change and lack of ambitious climate action would increase displacement in the next years.

The conflicts and violence, the other two great detonators of mass displacements, uprooted 14.4 million individuals in 2021, almost 50% more than in the previous year.

Most of the displacement for these reasons occurred in Africa, especially in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Afghanistan and Myanmar, meanwhile, experienced unprecedented population displacements.

America

In the American continent, disasters generated 1.7 million displacements. More than half of them were due to storms and floods, although they also responded to wildfires and geophysical hazards.

With regard to those triggered by conflicts and violence, the report accounts for 381,000 displacement, especially in Colombia and Central America.

Brazil, Colombia and Haitiin that order, were the Latin American countries with the greatest population displacements.

The study clarifies that the numbers collected could be imprecise since many countries in the continent do not have an efficient data compilation system.

Despite these shortcomings, IOM referred to the report as a valuable tool for humanitarian workers and governments, especially when it comes to assisting communities affected by disasters and other crises.

“To ensure that humanitarian assistance and essential services reach people where they are needed most, it is of crucial importance to understand, manage and adapt to trends in human mobility,” the Organization said.

children and youth

In its most recent edition, the study focuses particularly on displaced children and youth, who represented more than 40% of the total of uprooting in 2021.

The report indicates that the problem affects this population group particularly acutely in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia and the Pacific, but adds that events and emerging crises in countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen and more recently Ukraine, could change the pattern.

It also stresses that displacement can delay the development of children and adolescents, eroding and reversing the progress made with long-term investments and warns that this may affect not only the current generation, but those to come.

In fact, internal displacement affects all facets of children’s liveswith cascading impacts on their safety, nutrition, health, education and aspirations for the future.

It details, for example, that educational interruptions generate learning losses and reduced social interaction, while the lack of access to safe spaces increases vulnerability to risks including child marriage and violence and abuse that harm the physical well-being and mental health of children and young people.

Faced with this problem, the analysis provides key information to seek lasting solutions to the risks and impacts of displacement on this group both now and in the future, with the aim of building more resilient and sustainable societies.

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