The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies released its World Disasters Report 2012 yesterday, with a particular focus on people who are forced to leave their homes and communities. The report quotes António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “Forced displacement is one of the most acute and visible consequences of disasters and conflict. Its scale and complexity have increased dramatically in recent years.”
The report explains the difference between voluntary migration and forced migration:
Migration is a growing phenomenon affecting virtually all countries as the source, transit point or destination of migrants. Many migrants move voluntarily, seeking economic opportunities and different lifestyles. Others are forced to flee their homes due to conflict, repression or persecution. But disasters, environmental degradation, development, poverty and poor governance are large-scale drivers of forced displacement. People displaced in their own countries or across international borders – ‘forced migrants’ – are the focus of the 2012 World Disasters Report.
According to the report:
• More than 72 million people worldwide are forced migrants
• 15 million were forced to move due to disaster
• 43 million were displaced due to conflict or violence