Malual (2008). Sustainable livelihoods analysis of post-conflict rural development in southern Sudan
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Throughout the world, many people are forced to leave their homes, lands and livelihoods as a result of civil or international conflicts, natural disasters, economic hardships, developmental policies and environmental disasters. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR 2006: 9), at the beginning of 2006 the 8.4 million people were refugees (those who fled their country of origin and crossed an international border to seek safety in another country). This represents “the lowest total since 1980,” due to voluntary repatriation - refugees returning to their countries of origin, commonly on their own without assistance from any organization. According to UNHCR, 1.1 million refugees repatriated voluntarily during 2005. In contrast, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs), people who are uprooted by conflicts but seek safety within their country of origin, has increased dramatically to 6.6 million in 2005 compared to 5.4 million in 2004.This increase is attributed to deteriorating situations in Iraq and Somalia. While other countries such as Liberia and Colombia reported reduced numbers of IDPs, IDPs in Sudan increased from 662,000 to 842,000 during 2005 due to the crisis in Darfur.