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The thousands of people fleeing their homes globally in search of safety have received more policy and media attention recently. There is a critical distinction between refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the humanitarian not to mention economic and political consequences of each.
Conflict and violence are not the only reasons why people are uprooted. Natural and man-made disasters actually represent a more serious threat. During 2015, disasters displaced nearly 19.2 million people across 113 countries, while conflict and violence accounted for 8.5 million in 28 countries, less than a half the number who fled disasters.
Internal displacement is becoming a heavier development and political challenge and thus also a more devisive issue in terms of local and international policy responses. The difficult reality of the sustained growth in IDPs is complicated by the fact that internal displacement is often protracted as many people remain displaced within their countries for years or even decades. In addition, the triggers of displacement are often not isolated - only disasters or only violence - but interrelated. In Sudan, for example, where displacement was traditionally attributed to conflict, displacement has now been more accurately traced back to food crises caused by drought and environmental degradation.
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