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The Migrant Crisis You Didn’t Know About Has Displaced 9 Million People in 2017

Flickr/UNHCR/ B. Heger

The term “migrant crisis” may conjure images of a Syrian boy awash on the shores of Greece, or North Africans packed 50 deep in a 20-person raft en route to Italy

But what about a Chinese farmer forced to leave his home because of flooding? Or a Californian family fleeing erosion caused by a faulty dam spillway? 

Around the world, the number of internally displaced people worldwide is on the rise. 

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According to a new report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), there were 9 million new internally displaced people in the first half of 2017. 

Take Action: Tell Leaders How Important Education in Emergencies Is

Of those 9 million displacements, just over half were caused by conflict and just under half were caused by natural disasters. That includes everything from Filipinos displaced by criminal violence and extrajudicial killings by their own government to Botswanans and Mozambicans  displaced by tropical cyclone Dineo

Internally displaced people, unlike refugees, are not entitled to additional legal protections under international law, which can make them especially vulnerable to abuse, according to the IDMC. 

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Read More: A Mudslide in Sierra Leone Just Wiped Away Hundreds of Homes and People

In developing countries, according to the report, improper disaster preparedness exacerbated internal displacement from natural events, such as flooding in China and cyclones in southeast Asia.

“This shows us that seasonal, to be expected, weather patterns still result in large numbers of new displacements year after year, clearly illustrating that we are not investing enough in reducing vulnerability and exposure,” Bina Desai, Head of Policy and Research at IDMC, said in a statement. “While preparedness, early warning and evacuation systems may have improved over the years, the overall risk of being forced out of your home and becoming displaced in these countries has not been reduced.” 

Internal displacement can have especially adverse effects for children, whose educations are disrupted, sometimes for 10 years or more, according to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 

Read More: 8 Photos of the Deadly Monsoon Rains That Struck South Asia

“Over time, such circumstances can result in a generation of displaced people that has grown up without adequate formal education,” the report stated. 

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