By Nathan Morley
A new report shows nearly 51 million people around the world have been internally displaced due to natural disasters or conflict, with the Covid-19 virus posing a new threat.
New data shows an all-time high number of people were internally displaced in their home countries due to natural disasters and war in 2019.
According to the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), the world reached a record 50.8 million internally displaced people last year – a figure which could be exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The global coronavirus pandemic will make them more vulnerable still and compromise their already precarious living conditions by further limiting their access to essential services and humanitarian aid,” IDMC director Alexandra Bilak said.
Forced to flee
The report shows that a staggering 8.5 million people fled their homes in 2019 in countries like Syria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.
Climate disasters – such as the Australian bush fires - were the largest source of displacement worldwide, causing almost 25 million people to flee their homes last year.
Elsewhere, over 4 million people were forced to up-sticks by Cyclone Fani in India and Bangladesh, Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique, and Hurricane Dorian in the Caribbean.
The report points out that more could be done to fight climate change and to prepare for natural disasters, given that so many people were left homeless after cyclones and floods last year.