How do you pay for a busy refugee year? Cuts, cuts, cuts.

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Bogota, Colombia – 2011 has had no shortage of refugee crises: political conflict in the Ivory Coast sent hundreds of thousands fleeing, repression in Syria continues to push hundreds into neighboring Turkey, a drought in the Horn of Africa is sending record numbers of Somali refugees into Kenya and Ethiopia, and Libyans have been consistently pouring into Tunisia for months now.

Incredibly, the cash-strapped international community has mobilized to accommodate all these new migrations. But in a year when European countries, the United States, and other traditional donors are looking for ways to balance their budgets, how exactly is the United Nations paying for it? In part by cutting resources in protracted crisis zones.

One of those places is here in Colombia, where more than 3.6 million of the country’s 45 million people are still displaced from the country’s decades-long conflict. Many of these people haven’t gone home in years or even decades. Still others have been displaced more than once. And it’s not over. In the first three months of 2011, more than 8,000 people were displaced — more than all of last year.
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Originally posted at www.elizabeth-dickinson.com

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