A record number of people were internally displaced by war, violence, and political oppression in 2012, according to a new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). The Global Overview 2012 found that 28.8 million people were internally displaced at the end of last year, the highest number ever recorded by the organization.
Of the nearly 30 million refugees, 6.5 million were newly displaced in 2012. The violence in Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) accounted for around half of the new displacements, IDMC notes.
In Syria, the number of internal displacements spiked as the country descended deeper into civil war. Al Jazeera reported that thousands of Syrians living in camps near the country's border with Turkey spent months in horrifying conditions because the Assad regime forbade aid shipments into rebel-held territory. In addition to Syrians displaced in their own country, an estimated 1.3 million live as refugees in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, hundreds of thousands of people fled the violence in the country's North Kivu province, where government soldiers and rebels of the M23 movement terrorize the local population.
The IDMC report notes that Colombia had more internally displaced persons than any other country in the world in 2012, an estimated 4.9-5.5 million, due to a decades-long conflict between rebel groups and the government. And in Mali, at least 227,000 people were forced to leave their homes in 2012.
Unsurprisingly, the number of internally displaced people has risen in tandem with the number of conflicts worldwide. According to a Heidelberg Institute report cited by the IDMC, "there were more highly violent conflicts in Africa in 2012 than at any time since 1945.”
Check out the IDMC's map of internal displacement worldwide below: