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Report: Record 38 Million People Displaced Within Their Country


OK, here's a fact that may fall in the category of not surprising but still stunning to hear. In 2014, 38 million people were internally displaced by conflict. That's according to an organization based in Norway. This is the highest number in history. NPR's Sam Sanders has more.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Internally displaced means these are people who are homeless but still in their homelands. Clare Spurrell of the Norwegian Refugee Council says they have fewer protections than those who have fled their countries.

CLARE SPURRELL: They are not protected by international law in the way that refugees are. So their futures are very much determined by the will of their government to do anything to support them.

SANDERS: Sometimes, these are the very same governments forcing them from their homes. Iraq tops the list. More than 2 million Iraqis fled their homes last year as the so-called Islamic State took over territory. Spurrell says people are being displaced for longer periods of time, so aid has to change.

SPURRELL: Humanitarians need to be thinking about more development-led initiatives that are going beyond this sort of immediate need but also thinking, what do people also need to start to rebuild their lives?

SANDERS: The study only looks at those displaced by conflict. It does not include victims of natural disaster. Sam Sanders, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.