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ICRC assists record numbers of IDPs in 2009
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Jun 10, 2010 - 6:25:29 AM

ICRC assists record numbers of IDPs in 2009

Geneva (ICRC) – In 2009, some 4.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) – 20% more than in 2008 – benefited from humanitarian assistance provided by the ICRC, in association with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, in 33 countries all over the world. The ICRC devoted approximately 15% of its operational budget, or 150 million Swiss francs, to its efforts to alleviate the suffering and address the needs of people driven from their homes as a result of armed conflict and other violence.

"The hardship faced by millions of displaced men, women and children around the world, and by the relatives or communities that often take them in, is extreme and can continue for decades," said Anne Zeidan, head of the ICRC's IDP project. "In armed conflict, displacement is often caused by violations of international humanitarian law, so greater compliance by national authorities or armed groups controlling a territory would prevent this tragedy."

The ICRC increased its assistance to displaced people in response to greater needs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen and thanks to better access in Iraq. People driven from their homes have special needs at every stage of their displacement: as they flee, when they return and once they start to resettle. Communities hosting them also often have wide-ranging needs.

In total, the ICRC assisted 14.25 million civilians in 2009, 30% of whom were people displaced within their own countries. Its largest operations in terms of the budget devoted to the displaced were conducted in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

"When we left our homes, it was a tough time. We heard bazookas and I could only bring one child with me," said Tayan Mawgan, a displaced mother of four who lives in an evacuation centre in the Philippines. "The other villagers were running in all directions. Then we arrived at the town of Mamasapano. We stayed there but we had not been able to bring any belongings with us. We cannot return to our house because it has burned down."

The continent with the largest number of displaced people receiving ICRC aid, 1,942,000, was Asia, followed by Africa where 1,928,000 benefited from ICRC assistance. Around 584,000 displaced people received assistance in the Middle East and 115,000 in Europe and the Americas.

In 2009 it provided emergency assistance for sudden crises and upsurges in fighting such as those that occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. For people who have been displaced for extended periods as a result of long-standing conflicts or other violence, such as in Chad, Colombia, Iraq and Sudan, the ICRC stepped in to help them restore their livelihoods.

The ICRC provides displaced people with health care support, emergency household items, food, agricultural support, water and habitation services and other aid in response to specific needs. In 2009 it distributed food to 1 million displaced people in Asia and 600,000 in Africa. In addition, the agricultural aid it provided enabled approximately 405,000 displaced people in Africa to restore their livelihoods or otherwise regain self-sufficiency. Globally, close to 770,000 displaced people benefited from the ICRC's water and habitation services.

The ICRC worked with the authorities in many countries to help them better fulfil their obligation to protect civilians, including internally displaced people. In addition, the ICRC helped those displaced to restore and maintain contact with their families.


1. The 4.6 million internally displaced people who received aid from the ICRC in 2009 do not include those who benefited from ICRC activities designed to restore family links.

2. In 2009, the ICRC provided assistance for internally displaced people in the following countries. In Africa: Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe. In Asia: Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka. In Europe and the Americas: Azerbaijan, Colombia, Georgia, Panama, Peru, Russian Federation (Chechnya), Serbia/Montenegro-Kosovo. In the Middle East: Iraq, Yemen.

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