The body count from the top twenty deadliest wars in 2014 was more that 28% higher than in the previous year, research by the Project for the Study of the 21st Century (PS21) shows. Almost every major war in 2014 saw a significant increase in casualties.
According to analysis of a variety of data sets, 2014 saw at least fourteen conflicts that killed more than 1000 people, compared to only ten in 2013.
Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan remained the three deadliest wars, unchanged from the previous year but with all three seeing a significant spike in fatalities
Nigeria was the fourth deadliest, its number of deaths almost tripling on the previous year as the conflict with militant group, Boko Haram, intensified.
“Assessing casualty figures in conflict is notoriously difficult and many of the figures we are looking at here a probably underestimates,” said PS21 Executive Director, Peter Apps. “The important thing, however, is that when you compare like with like data for 2014 and 2013, you get a very significant increase. That says something very concerning.”
Many of the most violent conflicts involved radical Islamist groups – particularly Islamic State, the Taliban, Boko Haram and various Al Qaeda franchises.
Sudan and South Sudan remained amongst the world’s bloodiest wars. Indeed, if the two countries had remained unified, their combined death toll would have pushed them to the number three spot above Afghanistan.
Ukraine, at peace in 2013, became the eighth bloodiest war, its death toll exceeding Somalia, Libya and Israel/the Palestinian territories.
The spike in violence appears part of a broader multi-year trend. Research published last year by the Australia and US-based Institute for Economics and Peace showed a steady decline in world peace and rise in conflict related violence every year since 2007, bucking a multi-decade improvement since the end of World War II.
View the full report here. A discussion with Steve Killelea on rising global conflict trends is at the bottom of this post.
Top 20 Deadliest Countries in 2014
Compared to Top 20 Deadliest Countries in 2013
|Rank||2014||Death Toll||2013||Death Toll|
Steve Killelea, Founder and Chief Executive of the Institute for Economics and Peace discusses rising death tolls in global conflict with PS21 Executive Director, Peter Apps:
PS21 Executive Director Peter Apps discusses the report for Reuters TV.