2.2 million Iraqis displaced by Islamic State group

BEIRUT (AP) — Conflicts and violence worldwide displaced a record 38 million people in 2014, with 2.2 million Iraqis alone forced to flee the Islamic State group, a Norwegian humanitarian group report released Wednesday revealed.

The findings of the study carried out by the Norwegian Refugee Council's Internal Displacement Monitoring Center are endorsed by the United Nations refugee agency.

In a joint statement, they said 11 million were newly displaced last year — mostly because of conflicts in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. That's the equivalent of 30,000 people each day.

FILE - In this Sunday, April 19, 2015, file photo, a woman displaced from Ramadi settles in a mosque with children, in the al-Shurta neighborhood in west Bag...

FILE - In this Sunday, April 19, 2015, file photo, a woman displaced from Ramadi settles in a mosque with children, in the al-Shurta neighborhood in west Baghdad, Iraq. A Norwegian humanitarian group report says a record 38 million people have been internally displaced in their countries worldwide, with 2.2 million Iraqis alone fleeing in 2014 after the Islamic State group seized their areas. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)

"These are the worst figures for forced displacement in a generation, signaling our complete failure to protect innocent civilians" said Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The 4.7 million increase compared to 2013 comes mostly from the Middle East and Africa.

Iraqi civilians were the most displaced in 2014, with at least 2.2 million people fleeing the Islamic State group starting in June last year. Intense fighting followed between the Sunni militants and Iraqi troops, Kurdish fighters and Shiite militiamen.

Syria has the highest number of internally displaced, with 7.6 million dislodged because of their country's civil war, now in its fifth year. That's 35 percent of the population. In 2014, at least 1.1 million Syrians were newly displaced. More than 220,000 people have been killed and 1 million wounded in the war.

Also, the militant group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria drove hundreds of thousands away, or three quarters of at least 975,300 displaced there.

The report said that for the first time in more than a decade, Europe had massive enforced displacement caused by the war in Ukraine, where 646,500 people fled their homes last year.

Volker Türk, UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, said the longer conflicts lasts, the more the displaced are likely to become refugees.

"As we have seen in the recent past, for example in the Mediterranean, despair drives people to take their chances and even risk dangerous boat journeys," Türk said.

FILE - In this Thursday, April 30, 2015, file photo, displaced Iraqis wait in line to receive humanitarian aid at a camp set up for people from Ramadi and ar...

FILE - In this Thursday, April 30, 2015, file photo, displaced Iraqis wait in line to receive humanitarian aid at a camp set up for people from Ramadi and around the area in the al-Shurta neighborhood of west Baghdad, Iraq. A Norwegian humanitarian group report says a record 38 million people have been internally displaced in their countries worldwide, with 2.2 million Iraqis alone fleeing in 2014 after the Islamic State group seized their areas. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)

FILE - In this Saturday, April 18, 2015, file photo, Iraq security troops distribute bottles of water to displaced families from Ramadi on Bzebiz bridge 65 k...

FILE - In this Saturday, April 18, 2015, file photo, Iraq security troops distribute bottles of water to displaced families from Ramadi on Bzebiz bridge 65 km west of Baghdad, Iraq. A Norwegian humanitarian group report says a record 38 million people have been internally displaced in their countries worldwide, with 2.2 million Iraqis alone fleeing in 2014 after the Islamic State group seized their areas. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)

FILE - In this Saturday, April 18, 2015, file photo, displaced people from Ramadi cross Bzabz bridge  65 km west of Baghdad, Iraq. A Norwegian humanitarian g...

FILE - In this Saturday, April 18, 2015, file photo, displaced people from Ramadi cross Bzabz bridge 65 km west of Baghdad, Iraq. A Norwegian humanitarian group report says a record 38 million people have been internally displaced in their countries worldwide, with 2.2 million Iraqis alone fleeing in 2014 after the Islamic State group seized their areas. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)

FILE - In this Saturday, April 18, 2015, file photo, Kurdish citizens walk over the rubble of their houses which were destroyed during the battle between the...

FILE - In this Saturday, April 18, 2015, file photo, Kurdish citizens walk over the rubble of their houses which were destroyed during the battle between the U.S. backed Kurdish forces and the Islamic State fighters, in Kobani, north Syria. A Norwegian humanitarian group report says a record 38 million people have been internally displaced in their countries worldwide, with 2.2 million Iraqis alone fleeing in 2014 after the Islamic State group seized their areas. (AP Photo/Mehmet Shakir, File)

FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012 file photo, Amjad Al-Saleh, whose family fled their home in Marea due to Syrian government shelling, is comforted by ...

FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012 file photo, Amjad Al-Saleh, whose family fled their home in Marea due to Syrian government shelling, is comforted by his mother as he suffers from food poisoning, as they take refuge at the Bab Al-Salameh border crossing, in hopes of entering one of the refugee camps in Turkey, near the Syrian town of Azaz. A Norwegian humanitarian group report says a record 38 million people have been internally displaced in their countries worldwide, with 2.2 million Iraqis alone fleeing in 2014 after the Islamic State group seized their areas. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen, File)

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