A new study finds that since 2000, an average of one Brazilian per minute has been forced from their home. At least 7.7 million have had to leave their homes, 6.4 million of them thanks to natural disasters, including flooding and droughts, and 1.2 million of them thanks to large-scale construction projects, including dams, the Guardian reports. When the director of a Rio de Janeiro-based think tank came up with the idea for the study, initial estimates put the number of displaced Brazilians at just 1.7 million. The numbers, crunched by the newly-launched Forced Migration Observatory, came back much higher—and activists say the true numbers could be higher still.
Worryingly, activists say, no coordinated policy exists to deal with the problems faced by those who are displaced, and there is no legal framework in place to protect them. "There is a lack of water. Most of them have to buy drinking water, they have no work, the unemployment is very high," says one expert from a nonprofit organization. Migrants also often lack decent housing and other care. "What I was struck by was how little we knew and how little a government response existed to manage this displacement," says the think tank director. "Our hope with this observatory is to help shape a more informed debate and discussion." See the Guardian for more. (Read more Brazil stories.)