Record Numbers 'Forcibly Uprooted' From Homes Around the World in 2015

Record 27.8 million people displaced, highest number from war-torn Yemen.

May 11, 2016, 2:45 PM
Damaged city stadium is seen after Saudi-led coalition carried out airstrikes on Houthi targets in Dhamar, Yemen, April 13, 2015. Some residential areas close to the Houthi targets were damaged following the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes.
Adil Al-Sharee/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

— -- Conflict, war and natural disasters have internally displaced a record 27.8 million people in 2015, according to a joint report by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). That's as many as the populations of New York City, London, Paris and Cairo combined -- or an average of 76 people displaced every day last year.

The overall total of internally displaced people around the world is now 40.8 million, including both conflicts and disasters.

"This is the highest figure ever recorded, and twice the number of refugees worldwide," Jan Egeland, the NRC's Secretary General, told ABC News.

The United Nations defines internally displaced persons (IDP) as those who have been "forcibly uprooted" and must flee or leave their homes due to, "the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized state border."

The NRC/IDMC report said that the highest number of displaced people came from war-torn Yemen. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and the economic blockade led to eight percent of country’s population -- 2.2 million people forced to leave their homes. That's 20 times more than 2014. Syria had the next highest number of internally displaced people at 1.3 million, then came Iraq with 1.1 million.

"As the world attention focused on the flow of refugees out of the region, millions were displaced internally in the Middle East, more than in the rest of the world combined," Carsten Hansen, NRC's regional director in the Middle East told ABC News.

"While richer, stable countries have been scheming to keep asylum seekers out of their borders and deny them protection," Hansen added. "Millions remain trapped in their own countries with death staring them just around the corner."

Natural disasters were responsible for damages that displaced 19.2 million people to other places within their own countries last year, led by India, China and Nepal, according to the report.

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