Home General News Dark day for humanity as the number of refugees reaches 100 million

Dark day for humanity as the number of refugees reaches 100 million

by ervte

An increase in conflict and the effects of climate change have pushed the number of refugees worldwide to an unprecedented 100 million people – an increase of 20 million in the past two years alone.

As if that figure wasn’t alarming enough, nearly 40 percent is made up of children, 21 million of whom are classified as starving. And in some parts of the world, this leads to unimaginable situations, such as children being left without food for days or weeks and mothers having to decide which of their children will and will not eat.

“It is a dark day for humanity as just over two weeks ago; the UN announced that we have reached the dark milestone of more than 100 million forcibly displaced people,” said Nadine Haddad, senior policy advisor at World Vision Australia, on occasion from WorldVision Australia. Refugee Day is on Monday, 20 June.Dark day for humanity as the number of refugees reaches 100 million

“This is a number that we have never experienced before. It is the largest number in known history, where so many people have been forcibly displaced, and most worryingly, that number has increased by 20 million in just two years,” she said.

“So in 2020, at the start of the pandemic, we had reached the 1 percent of the global population milestone, shocking and horrifying. But two years later, that has increased by another 20 million. And this is mainly due to more conflict. Unfortunately, the pandemic did not prevent conflict or atrocities and the impact of climate change.”

“It’s the perfect storm with conflict, climate change, and the impact of COVID-19 forcing more and more people to flee their homes.” – Nadine Haddad.

The UN says the number of countries affected by conflict is double what it was ten years ago. An obvious cause of the increase is the conflict in Ukraine, from which seven million people have fled. However, the biggest contributor to displaced persons remains in Syria, where as many as 30 million people are internally displaced, and another five million are displaced abroad. More than six million people have been forcibly displaced in Afghanistan.

Nadine Haddad

And there is a very complex crisis in the Sahel region of Africa – many countries, including Burkina Faso, Somalia, and Sudan, which are mainly in conflict, dealing with years of heatwaves, droughts, and crop failures.

“It is the perfect storm with conflict, climate change, and the impact of COVID-19 forcing more and more people to flee their homes” – only to be caught in another crisis of climate change, “which amplifies underlying vulnerabilities. †

“We see that it creates more competition for resources. It leads to tensions related to tensions between communities. And it is a challenge to people’s livelihoods.”

For World Refugee Day, World Vision released a report titled Hungry and Unprotected – the Forgotten Refugees, which documents how the global hunger crisis threatens the future of millions of children.

“That means kids can go days, if not weeks, without food.” – Nadine Haddad

The report documents an increase in the number of children who are forcibly displaced or moved independently – unaccompanied minors or divorced children without their parents’ care – along with an increase in the number of female-led households moving, increasing their vulnerability.

“In the last 15 years of my career, I have worked with many displaced communities, and most of the people I have met are women and children, and a combination of factors makes their lives miserable,” Haddad said.

“You have conflict along with the economic impact of the pandemic, the climate emergency, and you have economic that has led to a surge in the number of displaced persons and hunger. Currently, most people forcibly displaced are in countries experiencing a food crisis. So they don’t have to deal with the trauma of conflict, fleeing violence, or leaving their home. They are falling into a deeper and deeper food crisis. And many of them are already hungry. Twenty-one million children are facing famine, classified between IPC 4 and 5, which is the end of the famine. Children can go days, if not weeks, without food.”

Haddad’s experience working with children affected by displacement and conflict has identified three major challenges: hunger and disease, educational disruption, and trauma.

“When we talk about starving children, we often don’t understand the journey to the hunger level. It is an excruciatingly painful and slow death where the internal body begins to shut down. Diseases and infections ravage a young body, and it’s just a journey full of disease when hunger leads to that level. A majority of families are still experiencing the effects of the pandemic. That means they make very difficult decisions to cut meals, go days without food, and choose which of their children gets to eat.”

Without nutritious food in the first 1000 days of life, a child is condemned to lifelong physical and mental limitations.

To deal with such a terrible dilemma, some parents force their children into exploitation to bring in money or to marry them off so that they have one less mouth to feed.

Haddad says the lack of nutritious food in the first 1,000 days of life condemns a child to lifelong physical and mental impairment if they are lucky enough to survive.

“The second is the disruption of their education. An average move doesn’t stop in a few weeks or months. It lasts for two decades. As we see with Afghanistan and Syria, it’s been ten years… You know, some kids in Syria are 15 but haven’t had a chance to go to school. So what future do they have?

“And finally, the trauma of the journey itself, of fleeing from violence and conflict, but also the trauma of trying to settle in a new place.”

Haddad says neighboring countries’ response to the influx of refugees from Ukraine has been encouraging and “should be the gold standard for any child fleeing conflict”. But refugees are often demonized and excluded without access to medical care, work rights, and social safety nets.

“And when you think of asylum seekers, those who have reached Australia, they are being demonized… instead of giving them the protection they need, the basic human universal human rights, which is to seek asylum, instead they are being punished for it. And now, sadly, we see the UK following in Australia’s footsteps – it’s a sad day for humanity.”

It is a crisis that divides the people of Australia. Still, the conflict in Ukraine has led to a shift in sentiment towards refugees, according to the UNHCR, which has reported record-breaking support from Australians.

Speaking at her last World Refugee Day as Australia’s National Director for UNHCR, Naomi Steer said it had been a year of incredible highs and lows.

“After Kabul fell to the Taliban last year, we saw an incredible flow of support – with $10.8 million raised through our emergency appeal. That was the largest private sector contribution to UNHCR’s response in Afghanistan from anywhere in the world.

“Unfortunately, the conflict in Ukraine started less than six months later; Australians, however, have continued to give generously. The Ukraine call has now raised over $13 million, the most money our organization has raised for an emergency call in its 22-year history.”

A new global study conducted in collaboration with UNHCR shows increased public compassion for refugees since the conflict began in Ukraine. The Ipsos survey found that 83 percent of Australians agreed that people “should be able to seek refuge in other countries, including Australia, to escape war or persecution”. This is compared to 74 percent in 2021.

A new global study shows increased public compassion for refugees since the start of the conflict in Ukraine.

On World Refugee Day, Australia is raising funds for UNHCR for protection activities, such as Blue Dot hubs, for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. Blue Dot hubs are safe places at border crossings in neighboring countries. With 90 percent of refugees from Ukraine being women and children, these hubs provide services, including child protection, play areas for children, psychosocial support, and legal aid to guard against the increased risk of violence, exploitation, and human trafficking.

Meanwhile, World Vision urges the Australian government to provide a $150 million famine prevention packagPeople cano speak to their MPs, write to them and ask Australia to step up and join the global effort in responding to the worldwide hunger crisis by providing $150 million in a prevention package. Just ask, ‘What is Australia doing?’

“We cannot just continue to look at our immediate region and ignore what is happening in Somalia, where 260,000 people are already facing famine right now, the same number who died in Somalia ten years ago because no one acted early.

“The second thing we can do is need to change the story and reinvent the future. You know, climate change is real, and the implications of climate change are real, but the biggest cause of displacement and hunger is conflict, so we need governments worldwide to invest more in conflict prevention, in conflict mediation; we must give peace a chance. We need our children to live in a peaceful future.”

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