1.2 million people internally displaced in Latin America in 2019

By Isabel Saco

Geneva, Apr 28 (efe-epa).- A total of 1.2 million people were recorded as newly internally displaced in Latin America last year, out of a population of 626 million, forced to abandon their homes due to natural disasters or violence.

The Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre published its annual global report for 2019 on Tuesday, which gave an alarming overview of the situation in the region.

Globally a total of 50.8 million people were recorded as internally displaced last year, the highest number ever reported.

Alexandra Bilak, IDMC director, told Efe that the two global epicentres of conflict displacement were sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

She added that new waves of forced displacement had also been recorded in Central and South America.

“The type of displacement and the type of violence that we’re seeing is very different from the type of violence and the conflicts that we see in Africa and the Middle East, we’re talking about a much more generalised form of violence, linked to criminal gangs and drug trafficking,” she continued.

Bilak said one of the biggest challenges in the region was a scarcity of data, meaning the true levels of forced displacement were likely to be higher than those stated in the report.

“It’s a very complex picture of human mobility, it’s been very difficult to distinguish in some cases what constitutes internal displacement from other forms of economic migration,” she added.

Violence by drug trafficking cartels, paramilitary and vigilante groups caused 7,100 new displacements in Mexico, out of a population of 126.2 million, in 2019 but the report warned this number “should be considered an underestimate”.

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