November 23, 2014 19:45 UTC

As It Is

Conflicts Displace People Around the World

A refugee waits to collect water from a well.
A refugee waits to collect water from a well.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story


Hello, again!  I’m Jim Tedder in Washington.  Today we examine the human side of war, not from a soldier’s point of view, but from that of civilians who are forced from their homes by conflict.  Also, some important art objects are being returned to Cambodia from the United States.  Then we’ll hear about a special movie event, a famous actor, and travel back in time to the “big band” era …on this edition of “As It Is.”
 
The number of people displaced within their own countries by armed conflict, other violence and rights violations almost reached 29 million in 2012.  Many of the people who had to leave their homes were in Syria and the eastern Congo.
 
Clare Spurrell of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center said that last year, a record number of people were forced to move within their own countries.
 
“This year we saw 28.8 million people who are now internally displaced as a consequence of conflict.  This is an increase of two-point-four-million compared to the previous year.  And much of this dramatic increase is due to the number of people who were newly displaced during the year.  So here we saw six-point-five-million people newly displaced, which is an increase of almost 50-percent as compared to 2011, the previous year.”
 
Ms. Spurrell says there were differing reasons for people being newly displaced in 2011 compared to 2012.
 
“In 2012, it was very much of the Arab Spring uprising and the post-election violence in Cote d’Ivor.  This last year we’ve seen the new displacement caused by the escalating violence in eastern DRC and of course the ongoing conflict in Syria, which caused really the majority of new displacement. “
                                                      
She described Syria as, in her words, “the fastest evolving internal displacement crisis in the world.”  She said the growing intensity of the crisis results partly from the clear lack of front lines of battle.
  
In the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, there were one-million IDP’s in 2012.  But there are many people in the area who have been displaced for some time.  Overall, there are almost three-million internally displaced people there. They include some who have been displaced several times by a number of armed groups.
 
 Africa below the Sahara Desert has 10-point-four million IDPs.  That is almost one-third of the world total.  Clare Spurrell blames the many armed conflicts in the area. Still, she says, the country with the most IDPs is not in the Middle East or Sub-Saharan Africa.  Instead, she says it is really in South America.  Colombia has between five and five and one half million internally displaced people due to high levels of crime-related violence and armed conflict.
 
She says Colombia, DRC and now, Syria, are all situations with long-lasting conflicts.  And millions of people are trapped in this extended displacement that depends on aid … often for many years.
 
Hello.  I’m Caty Weaver in Washington.  The United Nations refugee agency reports that more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees have now fled to other countries. The agency expects three times this many people to leave by the end of 2013, if the violence in Syria does not end. 
 
At least 8,000 people leave Syria every day because of the conflict in that country. They are going to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. Panos Moumtzis is the Syria Regional Refugee Coordinator. He says the number of refugees has grown rapidly.

“This is a significant increase if you think that today one year ago, 12 months ago, the actual figure was 30,000. So in 12 months, we have gone from 30,000 Syrian refugees to 1.3 million. Three quarters of the refugees who have fled continue to be women and children.”
 
But the money to help has not kept up with the flow of people.  The UN Refugee Agency says it has received only one third of the $1 billion it needs to care for Syrian refugees until June.  Mr. Moumtzis says western nations have given the amount they promised. But the UN is waiting for money promised by Gulf states in the Middle East. He also says the UN aid organizations are still trying to provide more health and education services, food, water and shelter.
 
“While we have put in place relief services and relief operations on a 24/7 basis, we have relief workers going to work at night as well as the day because the refugees cross borders every day. We fear that we may not be able to continue the operations unless funding comes urgently. We are at a breaking point.”
 
Mr. Moumtzis says refugee camps are overcrowded and new camps must be built. I’m Caty Weaver.
 
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced that it will return two 10th Century statues to Cambodia.  The two stone sculptures are called “Kneeling Attendants.”  They were donated to the museum in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  Steve Ember has been following the story.
 
The museum’s director, Thomas Campbell, says officials recently found new information about the statues’ ownership.  He says they did not have that information 20 years ago.
 
The decision for the return reportedly took place after months of private communication between the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Cambodian officials.  Reports say the Cambodians showed proof that the statues had been removed from a temple complex about 314 kilometers from Phnom Penh.
 
Mr. Campbell said the museum promises to learn as much as possible about the ownership of its collection.  I’m Steve Ember.
 
And I’m Jim Tedder in Washington.  Thank you for spending some time with us on this Thursday, the 16th day of May.  On this date in 1929, a very important tradition was begun in the United States at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California.  It was the first ever Academy Awards to honor the motion picture industry.  A silent film named “Wings” was the first ever selected as “best picture.” 
 
And while we are on the subject of movies, today is also the birthdate of American actor Henry Fonda. He was the star of such great films as “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Mr. Roberts.”  The first, based upon the book by John Steinbeck, tells the story of a poor family’s struggle to survive during the American depression.  After seeing “The Grapes of Wrath” you will probably need a laugh.  So get your hands on a copy of “Mr. Roberts.”  It stars a more mature Henry Fonda as a sailor during World War II. 
 
And finally, today is the 100th birthdate of Woodrow Charles Herman, better known as “Woody.”  Long before rock and roll came into being, Americans looked forward to dressing in their best clothes, going out to eat, and then listen to and dance to the music of the “big bands.”  Woody Herman, who played the clarinet, and his band “The Herd” were popular entertainers for over 50 years.  The song you are hearing is “Woodchopper’s Ball,”   Woody Herman’s first hit.  
 
That’s all for us today.  We hope to see you tomorrow at this same time.  If you would like to find out what else is going on in the world, listen for world news at the beginning of every hour on VOA. 
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: AmirDewani from: Fl.USA
05/21/2013 7:19 PM
This report is serious, but there is no mention of the brutal violence, killings, and displacement of the Muslims of Burma at the hands of their own army units and the monks. In fact today, the 21st of May, 2013, our President Mr.OBAMA has raised the issue while welcoming the Burmese chief at the White house.


by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
05/17/2013 11:36 AM
Almost all counties in the world are experiencing a kind of restlessness and conflict one way or the other. Discontentment is the basic feeling felt among people all over the world. Adding to fuel to fire is the economic disparity occuring between the rich and the poor. The world is fast becoming inhabitable to the poor, I think. Thank you.


by: Altino Therezo from: Brazil
05/17/2013 10:23 AM
Hello: could you give me some information? How can I listen for world news in special English? Is it possible to get it on line? What must I have to do? What "the beginning of every hour" means? Thank you very much. Altino Therezo


by: Alexander from: México
05/17/2013 6:40 AM
Thanks it's a great help for learn inglés


by: Yunio Lanz from: Venezuela
05/16/2013 5:17 PM
I enjoyed this lesson , even the Woody's music.Great !!


by: Doris from: Orlando
05/16/2013 1:58 AM
I like that, thanks. Gracias!

Learn with The News

  • fiberglass boat

    Video Filipino Fishermen Turn to Fiberglass for New Boats

    After a typhoon seriously damaged forests, the fishermen needed to find other materials to rebuild their boats. Is fiberglass the answer? They use a sledgehammer to answer that question. The fisherman used it to hit the sides of the fiberglass boats to see if the new boats were as strong. More

  • Brazil Religion in Latin America

    Audio Latin America Catholics Converting to Protestants

    Almost 40 percent of the world’s Catholic population, or about 425 million people, lives in Latin America. But a recent study from the Pew Research Center says people in Latin America have increasingly lost faith in the Catholic Church. Membership has decreased as much as 20 percent. More

  • This undated handout image provided by Science and the University of Tokyo shows infectious particles of the avian H7N9 virus emerging from a cell.

    Audio What's the Matter?

    From the very big to the very small, everything in our universe is made up of matter. Matter is one of those very hardworking words that you need to master ... no matter what. We will get you to the hear of the matter with this Words and Their Stories. More

  • Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen (L) stretches to shake hands with China's President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 7, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee/POOL

    Audio Cambodian Opposition Criticize Dependence on Chinese Aid

    China’s government recently promised more than $500 million in aid to Cambodia. Cambodian officials say they need about $1 billion in foreign aid each year to operate the government. Opposition members are worried about the country becoming too dependent on aid money from China. More

  • Obama Immigration

    Video Republicans Promise to Fight Obama on Immigration

    Republican Party lawmakers are promising to fight President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration. The order protects millions of people who have been living in the United States illegally. The president’s announcement immediately angered Republicans in the U.S. Congress. More

Featured Stories

  • Jonathan Evans Performs with Bonerama

    Video With Bonerama, Three Trombones Lead the Big Parade

    The New Orleans-based group brings together funk, rock, blues and jazz, creating a gumbo for the ears. Bonerama has horns like many bands. But, unlike most groups, the trombone players lead this band. Reporter Jonathan Evans performed with the band and wrote about it for American Mosaic. More

  • A line from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is displayed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

    Audio Lincoln's Words at Gettysburg Still Have Meaning

    On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said no one would remember his speech at a battlefield cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. But Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address remains one of the most important speeches in U.S. history. More

  • PLASTIC DREAMS

    Audio Surgery Safaris: Looking for the Perfect Body

    Many people these days are going as far as South Africa to get their version of perfection. People from across Africa and the world come for so-called “surgery safaris.” There are no animals to see on these safaris. The visitors instead look for smaller stomachs, firmer bottoms or perhaps new eye. More

  • Video South Korea Attempting to Reuse More E-Waste

    South Korea is dealing with increasing amounts of waste from electronic devices. These useless or unwanted parts are often called “e-waste.” . The city of Seoul throws out about 10 tons of e-waste each year. Some local governments in South Korea are creating special "e-waste" recycling programs. More

  • FILE - Brittany Maynard, shown with her Great Dane puppy, Charlie, took a lethal dose of medication prescribed by a doctor in Oregon on Saturday. Maynard was battling brain cancer.

    Video Should You Have the Right to Die?

    The recent case of a 29 year old woman with brain cancer has again raised questions about the right to die. Americans are divided on whether doctors should be able to give deathly sick patients drugs to end their lives. Only four U.S states permit doctor, or physician, assisted suicide. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs