Norwegian report: The Philippines had the most war evacuees in 2008

The Philippines had the biggest number of internally displaced people in 2008, the Oslo-based Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said in its 2009 report that war evacuees in the Philippines were also the most neglected in 2008.
“The world’s largest new displacement last year happened when 600,000 people fled fighting between the Army and rebel groups in the southern region of Mindanao,” the NRC writes on its website.
Elisabeth Rasmusson, NRC secretary general, said the Philippines is now ranked with countries such as South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, the Central African Republic (CAR), India, Ethiopia, and Colombia as far as displaced people are concerned. The total number of displaced persons worldwide, she said, was 41.2 million by the end of 2008. The numbers speak for themselves. Civilians carry the burden of armed conflict,” shesaid adding that the displacements represented a political and moral defeat for national authorities and the international community. “Forced migration warrants a place much higher up on the international agenda”
Elisabeth Rasmusson stats that what was sad was that many of those forced out of their communities never received the attention they deserved.
“There is often lack of political will to focus on armed conflict, violence, and human rights violations. Consequently there are no forgotten—only deliberately neglected—displacement situations,”  Figures from government agencies, international aid organizations, and other groups validated the figures used by NRC. According to various sources, the number of people who fled their homes due to fighting between government soldiers and Moro guerrillas in the two Lanao provinces alone exceeded 500,000.
The fighting escalated when Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels allegedly raided and pillaged civilian communities in North Cotabato and Maguindanao in retaliation for the failed signing of an agreement with the government that would have expanded Moro autonomy to a larger territory in Mindanao. The huge number of displaced persons also became a cause of concern for international aid agencies, with the World Food Programme describing it as an impending humanitarian crisis. Most of the evacuees had since returned home, amid uncertainty over their security.
Fresh clashes regularly occur in the provinces that have become battlegrounds as the military continues to hunt down guerrillas allegedly involved in the August attacks. These clashes trigger new waves of evacuation. In Maguindanao alone, nearly 30,000 people remain in evacuation centres, surviving on rations from the government and other relief organizations.

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