Displaced lifes: Escaping conflict, violence and disaster

Every minute eight people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror.” This is the background to the UN General Assembly’s decision to declare June, 20th as World Refugee Day. As the UN estimates, about “43.3 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced due to conflict and persecution” by the end of 2011. This includes several groups of people, categorised in refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, stateless persons and returnees. The following two maps put a spotlight on the geographic distribution of two of these groups. The first map visualises data on displaced people from a recent report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). The organisation estimates figures on people who are internally displaced “caused by conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations and natural hazard-induced disasters”. The cartogram shows the countries of the world resized according to the total number of internally displaced people there, adding up to 33.3 million according to IDMC’s report:

Map of internally displaced people in the world
(click for larger version)

The second map focuses on numbers released by the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR about the efforts of the international community to help refugees of current conflict. Their data shows, how many Syrian refugees each country has pledged to resettle. The confirmed official pledges to date were a total of 21,102 (while with the ongoing crisis these numbers keep changing while countries continue to propose further commitments) plus an open ended number on resettlement by the USA (which in the following map is set to a number of 13,500 which equals the largest pledged number by Germany at the time the data was released in May). This is the complete picture behind these numbers turned into a cartogram:

Confirmed/Official Pledges 2013/14 for Syrian Refugees
(click for larger version)

To mark World Refugee Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pleads the international community “to intensify efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts, and to help achieve peace and security so that families can be reunited and refugees can return home.” Beyond raising awareness for the issue and the personal stories behind these numbers and statistics, UNHCR proposed concrete demands and measures than have to be taken to help people who were forced to leave their homes behind. The following video clip gives an insight into their World Refugee Day campaign:

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