Thursday, February 14, 2008

Reaching 5 Million--the "planet's worst refugee crisis"

Last week Refugees International reported that almost 5 million Iraqis have been displaced during the US invasion and occupation. That means one in five Iraqis, many of them vulnerable and traumatized by physical and psychological violence. The human needs emerging from this displacement will not be met by military surges, spiraling war funding, or continued US occupation. The first step in healing the wounds of war is to stop the violence.

Michael Schwartz, avoiding numbers, describes the crisis as the "planet's worst refugee crisis":

"A tidal wave of misery is engulfing Iraq -- and it isn't the usual violence that Americans are accustomed to hearing about and tuning out. To be sure, it's rooted in that violence, but this tsunami of misery is social and economic in nature. It dislodges people from their jobs, sweeps them from their homes, tears them from their material possessions, and carries them off from families and communities. It leaves them stranded in hostile towns or foreign countries, with no anchor to resist the moment when the next wave of displacement sweeps over them.

"The victims of this human tsunami are called refugees if they wash ashore outside the country or IDPs ("internally displaced persons") if their landing place is within Iraq's borders. Either way, they are normally left with no permanent housing, no reliable livelihood, no community support, and no government aid. All the normal social props that support human lives are removed, replaced with…nothing."

Read Schwartz's report here >>>

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