Saturday, 30 January 2016

OUGD505 Licence to Print Money - Further Research, Migrant Crisis (Studio Brief One)

The number of people driven from their homes has risen by 40% since 2013. In 2013, 33 million people had fled their homes in order to avoid war and devastation, however since then, the number has risen an extra 13 million, making the total 46 million people. The immolation of Syria was the biggest cause, but on the other side of the world, two million people fled the path of Boko Haram's pitiless offensive in Nigeria, and another 2.2 million escaped civil war in South Sudan. In this terse phrase of the Internation Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), while complied the figures, this amounte a a "quantum leap in force displacement".

Today's wars generally create far more refugees than previous conflicts. It may sound strange, but that is not necessarily bad news. After all, the  biggest reason is simply that even the most volatile countries have also experienced rapid population growth. If civil war had broken out in Syria in 1970, the refugee crisis would have been a minuscule fraction of today's catastrophe. Back then, Syria had only six million people, compared with at least 20 million today.

Put simply; there are more refugees because there are more people - and, in turn, there are more people because the world has broadly succeeded in reducing infant mortality and raising life expectancy, even in the poorest countries.

The volume of migrants heading for Europe is not solely because of war and poverty. The affected countries also have many more people than in the part - partly because Europe did the right thing by, for example, eradicating smallpox and immunising children against polio. All this means that our understanding of the 'migrant crisis' will need to change. The very word 'crisis' is misleading for it implies a passing moment of danger that will eventually come to an end.

The IISS also urges 'better access for humanitarian relief in the country of conflict' so that people are not compelled to leave simply to find food and shelter. Again, some chance. The likes of Boko Haram or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) are never going to allow a free pass for aid workers in their bloodsoaked domains.

Wars will always force large numbers of people to flee. Populations are generally growing, so future conflicts will create even more refugees than today. If 46 million people are now living in camps or other sanctuaries, the conflicts of the 2020s are likely to displace still more.

Instead of being a passing phase, the 'migration crisis' is part of the fabric of the world.

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