1 of 2 | A boy gestures for a photographer in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 28, 2009. UPI/Mohammad Kheirkhah | License Photo
GENEVA, Switzerland, May 16 (UPI) -- Violent conflicts forced approximately 33.3 million people to become internally displaced by the end of 2013, says a United Nations-backed report.
According to the "Global Overview 2014," a report released Wednesday by the United Nations in Geneva, the 33.3 million internally displaced people in 2013 reflects a record high for the second year in a row, and an increase of 4.5 million IDPs from 2012.
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and the Norwegian Refugee Council, which released the report in conjunction with the U.N. Refugee Agency, found that 63 percent of those forced displacements occurred in five countries: Syria, Colombia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan.
"We should all be concerned about these numbers and the continuing upward trend," said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. "We have a shared responsibility to act to end this massive suffering. Immediate protection and assistance for the internally displaced is a humanitarian imperative."
Of those 33.3 million IDPs, 8.2 million people were newly displaced last year -- a number that increased by 1.6 million from 2012.
The Global Overview 2014 map of internally displaced people. (Credit Norwegian Refugee Council and the IMDC)
"This record number of people forced to flee inside their own countries confirms a disturbing upward trend of internal displacement since IDMC first began monitoring and analysing displacement back in the late 90s," said Jan Egeland, NRC's Secretary General.
Egeland explained that compounding the issue is the bleak reality that IDPs spend an average of 17 years living in displacement.
Of course, the largest contributor to the skyrocketing number of IDPs is the ongoing civil war in Syria. According to the IDMC's report, 9,500 people are being displaced within Syria daily.
"The IDMC report reveals a frightening reality of life inside Syria, now the largest internal displacement crisis in the world," said Egeland. "Not only do armed groups control the areas where internal displacement camps are located, these camps are badly managed, provide inadequate shelter, sanitation and limited aid delivery."
In addition, IDPs in Syria are frequent targets of airstrikes and artillery shelling.
Another way of imagining such a profound humanitarian crisis: one Syrian family is being displaced every minute.