Conflict and disasters displaced 30.6 million people within their own countries last year, according to a new report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
“This is the equivalent of more than 80,000 people displaced each day,” said Alexandra Bilak, Director of IDMC. “The scale of this displacement is dishearteningly familiar. This report shows why we need a new approach to address the huge costs of internal displacement, not only to individuals, but also to the economy, stability and security of affected countries.”
Key findings from the Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2018) show that new displacement due to conflict and violence reached 11.8 million in 2017, almost double the figure of 6.9 million in 2016. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 5.5 million of these displacements, followed by the Middle East and North Africa with 4.5 million. This brings the total number of people living in internal displacement due to conflict close to 40 million worldwide.
“The staggering number of people forced to flee from their homes due to conflict and violence must serve as an eye opener to us all,” said Jan Egeland, NRC’s Secretary General. “We are getting better at providing emergency aid, but we need to put a lot more effort into preventing displacement, protecting people, and finding long-term solutions.”
The report also shows that in 2017, disasters displaced 18.8 million people in 135 countries. Of these, 8.6 million displacements were triggered by floods, and 7.5 million by storms, especially tropical cyclones. The worst affected countries were China with 4.5 million, the Philippines with 2.5 million, Cuba and the US each with 1.7 million, and India with 1.3 million displacements.
In 2017, cyclones displaced millions of people around the world, including Mora which struck Bangladesh in May and hurricane Irma that wreaked havoc in the Atlantic in August.
Complex emergencies in places like Yemen and South Sudan, involving a breakdown in the rule of law, a weakened economy and limited humanitarian access, also led to significant displacement.
“Internal displacement often heralds the start of broader crises. While we have seen some useful policy progress since the adoption of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement 20 years ago, it is nowhere near enough to cope with, much less reduce, the scale of the problem,” said Bilak.
Bilak added, “without renewed action, we risk failing millions of internally displaced people worldwide, and holding back the development of the countries which host them. It’s time for an honest conversation on the most effective ways to turn the tide on this global crisis. This conversation must be led by affected countries and receive full support from the international community.”