OCTOBER 16TH 2012: DUBLIN – Of the 72 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, 60% (43 million) were forced to migrate by conflict and violence, says a new report released today by the Red Cross.
According to the 2012 World Disasters Report, growing numbers of people are forced into migration by a range of what it calls “increasingly complex drivers” including conflict and violence, disasters, political upheaval and even by large-scale development projects.
In 2011, hundreds of thousands of people fled conflict and violence in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria often seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. People often flee conflict-ridden and failed states, only to find themselves in almost equally unstable situations – Afghans in Pakistan, Iraqis in Syria and Somalis in Yemen.
In Syria, tens of thousands of refugees have crossed the borders into neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey in search of safe shelter. In July 2012, approximately 20,000 Syrians crossed into Lebanon over a period of 48 hours alone.
Donal Forde, Irish Red Cross Secretary General said today, “Some three-quarters of the world’s refugees currently reside in countries neighbouring their country of origin, a trend with important implications for global responsibility-sharing in assisting refugees.”
A co-ordinated effort by the Jordan Red Crescent and Lebanon Red Cross has resulted in refugees arriving from Syria receiving swift and vital assistance. “For many arriving over the border, a Red Cross or Red Crescent volunteer is there to meet them, assess their needs and offer assistance”, said Forde.
“However, governments and humanitarian organisations are still struggling to fully understand how people who have fled disaster or conflict can be best supported and how to avoid ‘secondary disasters’ caused by living in unplanned and informal settlements that lack necessary social serviced and that are more often than not, built in areas vulnerable to floods and other types of disaster.”
• To arrange an interview with Donal Forde, Irish Red Cross Secretary General – contact: Rebecca Dunne, Communications Executive, Irish Red Cross, 087 743 3275
• The 2012 World Disasters Report provides practical backing for the Red Cross Red Crescent’s ongoing call for governments to ensure that migrants, irrespective of their legal status, have access to the support that they need and that they are treated at all times with respect and dignity. In November 2011, 164 governments agreed to this principle at the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
• The World Disaster Report is published annually by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and part-funded by the Irish Red Cross