Record Numbers Are Displaced In Their Own Countries Due to Climate Change, Conflict And Disasters

6 May 2020 by Staff - Water Diplomat
GENEVA, Switzerland

A new report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) shows a new record of over 50 million internally displaced people, globally.

The Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID) estimates that 45.7 million people have been displaced due to conflict and violence in 61 countries, including Syria, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen and Afghanistan. An additional 5 million in 95 countries were displaced because of natural disasters, including monsoons in India and over 33,000 who are still displaced after an earthquake in Haiti in 2010.

In 2019, there were 33.4 million new displacements; 8.5 million were attributable to conflict and violence, with Syria, DRC Ethiopia, South Sudan and Burkina Faso particular “hot spots”. Almost 25 million new displacements were triggered by disasters, including 4.5 million by cyclone Fani in India and Bangladesh, cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique and hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. Heavy and prolonged rains resulted in widespread flooding in Africa, resulting in two million new displacements.

“Year after year, conflict and violence uproot millions of people from their homes. Collectively, we are failing by epic proportions to protect the world’s most vulnerable. Politicians, generals and diplomats must rise above stalemates and seek ceasefires and peace talks, not guns and grenades. In this age of coronavirus, continued political violence is utterly senseless,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, parent organisation to IDMC.

Efforts to prevent and respond to internal displacement were visible in many countries in 2019. In Asia pre-emptive evacuations saved lives and effective early warning systems and other measures to reduce disaster risk averted the worst impacts of disasters. National systems to collect and analyse displacement data were put in place in Indonesia, Mali and Sri Lanka.

The UN secretary general established the High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, an expression of global political commitment, and three more African countries ratified the Kampala Convention, the continent’s unique and legally binding framework on the phenomenon.

“The GRID shows that measuring and understanding a problem is the cornerstone of efforts to resolve it, but resources and political commitment are also needed if IDPs are to make tangible progress in re-establishing their lives,” said IDMC’s director, Alexandra Bilak.

“As the coronavirus pandemic casts an unforgiving light on the urgency of our task, we hope the lessons documented in this report will prove useful in our collective efforts to end internal displacement.”