Seeking safety in the city- New World of Displacement


(IRIN) – Every year, hundreds of thousands of people are forced from their homes by violence or natural disasters. But the face of displacement is changing: While the popular view of displacement is one of sprawling rural camps, displaced people are now just as likely to be living in urban areas, often hidden from view.

The Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG), based at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), has explored this phenomenon in a series of studies called “Sanctuary in the City?”, which examines displacement conditions and policies in eight urban centres around the world.

HPG’s Simone Haysom told IRIN, “Urban displacement is the future of what displacement is going to look like. Many of the displaced come from cities and are not going to put up with camp conditions. Already more than half are in urban areas, and that percentage is only going to grow, except where governments enforce strict encampment policies. And humanitarians are not equipped with the right tools and resources to deal with urban displacement.”

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