Iraqi displaced men and children collect water from a donated tank at Al-Amiriya camp for refugees, 95 km western Baghdad, Iraq, 15 May 2022 | Photo: EPA/AHMED JALIL
Iraqi displaced men and children collect water from a donated tank at Al-Amiriya camp for refugees, 95 km western Baghdad, Iraq, 15 May 2022 | Photo: EPA/AHMED JALIL

Save the Children has denounced that the fact that the total number of internally displaced children in 2021 has reached a record total 25.2 million. The organization said that conflict, violence and climate-related disasters were the main causes that led to an increase in displacement.

The number of internally displaced children in 2021 reached a record-breaking 25.2 million, according to the Save the Children NGO. This number compares to the entire population of Australia or Niger.

Compared to 2020, the number of displaced children went up by 10% in 2021. the organization said in a statement published on Tuesday. It added that conflict, violence and climate-related disasters were the main causes for the increase.

Save the Children said it fears that the number of displaced children will rise further in 2022, with millions of people forced to leave their homes in Ukraine.

Millions of children at risk

The NGO quoted data from the Norwegian Refugee Council's Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), showing that the number of people living in internal displacement globally hit a record 59.1 million at the end of 2021 -- compared to 55 million a year earlier.

The total number of refugees -- which also includes those who have fled to other countries -- reached a reported 100 million, according to the IOM.

About half of them are children in need to protection, as they are exposed to serious risks during their travels. Safe the children said that more than two in five displaced people globally are minors at risk of abuse and violence.

Each year, millions of minors are left unable to go to school, without enough food to eat, with little access to healthcare and traumatized by the events they may have witnessed. Financial difficulties can force children into dangerous activities, including crime, transactional sex, or joining armed groups, the statement added.

"Children across the world are displaced in horrifying numbers", said Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children International.

"We know that displacement has long-term impacts on children. I've just come from Mozambique where I've seen, for example, how child protection and education risks are exacerbated during displacement", Ashing said ahead of the official launch of the 2022 Global Report on Internal Displacement on Monday.

Identifying the needs of children

Record numbers of displacement were especially reported in Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan. While natural disasters accounted for most of this movement, Save the Children said that the number of people forced from their homes by violence and conflict also reached a record of 14.4 million.

Save the Children stressed moreover that the majority of children remain invisible in displacement data, especially those who are uprooted but remain in their own countries. This makes it hard to identify their needs, aspirations and potential in order to understand appropriate policy and program responses, the NGO noted.

"When we look at the impact of displacement, we need to keep in mind that children are affected in ways that are different from adults' experiences. We need to act urgently and keep children's rights at the center of our responses to internal displacement", the NGO said.

 

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