UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

June 21, 2009

28 MILLION PEOPLE HAVE BEEN DRIVEN FROM THEIR HOMES

Common Dreams - The number of people internally displaced within their own countries has reached a historical high of more than 28 million, the UN's refugee agency said, as conflicts in Pakistan's Swat valley and Sri Lanka compound a growing global problem. . .

Since the end of last year there has been an exodus of more than 2 million from the Swat valley, which has become a battleground between the Taliban and the Pakistani army.

More than 300,000 refugees are being held in internment camps in Sri Lanka, victims of the conflict between government soldiers and the Tamil Tigers, and 130,000 people have been displaced by fighting in the Somalian capital, Mogadishu.

Those conflicts have taken the number of internally displaced people to more than 28 million and the total number of people forcibly uprooted by conflict and persecution to 45 million, UNHCR said. . .

Colombia has one of the world's largest internally displaced populations, with estimates of 3 million. Iraq had 2.6 million internally displaced people at the end of 2008, with 1.4 million of them displaced in the past three years alone. There were more than 2 million internally displaced in Sudan's Darfur region.

The report says 80% of the world's refugees are in developing countries, as are the vast majority of internally displaced people. Since 2005 the agency has seen the number of people it cares for in the latter group double.

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