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Nearly 700,000 internally displaced due to armed conflict since March ceasefire call

NEARLY 700,000 people have been displaced by armed conflict since the United Nations called for a global ceasefire at the end of March, according to figures from the Norwegian Refugee Council.

More than 660,000 were forced to flee their homes between March 23 and May 15, an NRC report said, warning that more people have been left exposed to Covid-19 and that this hinders efforts to fight the pandemic.

“At a time when health experts tell us to stay at home, men with guns are forcing hundreds of thousands out of their homes and into extreme vulnerability,” said NRC secretary-general Jan Egeland.

“This not only hurts those who are forced to flee, it seriously undermines our joint efforts to combat the virus.”

By far the highest number of internally displaced people is in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where clashes between armed groups and the military have forced more than 480,000 people to flee their homes.

At least 24,000 have been displaced in Yemen as the Saudi-led coalition continues air strikes and other military activity despite pledging to observe a unilateral ceasefire.

Mr Egeland urged world leaders to stop squabbling like children in a sandbox and push for the global ceasefire to be respected.

“Now is not the time for kindergarten politics,” he insisted.

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