Record 76mn people displaced worldwide, says monitor

AFP || Shining BD

Published: 5/16/2024 5:51:54 AM

Conflict in Gaza and Sudan pushed the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) worldwide to a record 75.9 million at the end of 2023, an NGO monitor said on Tuesday.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) said the figure was a new end-of-year numerical high, with the number of people displaced within their own borders having increased by more than 50 percent in the last five years.

The figure was up from 71.1 million at the end of 2022.

While refugees are those who have fled abroad, internal displacement refers to the forced movement of people within the country in which they live.

In its annual Global Report on Internal Displacement, the IDMC said that 68.3 million people worldwide were displaced by conflict and violence, and 7.7 million by disasters.

Over the past five years, the number of IDPs resulting from conflict has increased by 22.6 million, with the two biggest increases in 2022 and 2023.

At 9.1 million, Sudan has the highest number of IDPs recorded for a single country since records began in 2008, the monitor said.

IDPs account for 18.4 percent of the population of around 49.4 million, according to AFP calculations using United Nations population figures.

In the Gaza Strip, 1.7 million Palestinians were internally displaced by the end of 2023, with 3.4 million new movements.

That means 77 percent of the population of 2.2 million have been forced from their homes, according to AFP calculations based on UN figures.

The bloodiest-ever war in Gaza broke out in October last year.

- 'Damning verdict' -

"Over the past two years, we've seen alarming new levels of people having to flee their homes due to conflict and violence, even in regions where the trend had been improving," said IDMC director Alexandra Bilak.

"Conflict, and the devastation it leaves behind, is keeping millions from re-building their lives, often for years on end."

The monitor also keeps track of the number of internal displacements -- each new forced movement of a person within their borders.

People can be displaced several times over.

Almost half of all IDPs live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Last year there were 46.9 million forced movements of people -- 20.5 million internal displacements by conflict and violence, and 26.4 million by disasters.

Fighting in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Palestinian territories accounted for nearly two-thirds of new movements of people due to conflict in 2023.

Throughout 2023, there were six million forced movements of people caused by the violence in Sudan -- more than in the previous 14 years combined.

It is the second-highest number of forced movements within a year after Ukraine's 16.9 million in 2022.

- Disasters -

"We have never, ever recorded so many people forced away from their homes and communities," said Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council which created the IDMC in 1998.

"It is a damning verdict on the failures of conflict prevention and peace-making."

"The lack of protection and assistance that millions endure cannot be allowed to continue."

Of the 26.4 million forced movements due to disasters, a third were in China and Turkey as a result of severe weather events and high-magnitude earthquakes.

The UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the numbers of people displaced by disasters was expected to rise in coming years, as the frequency, duration and intensity of natural hazards worsen due to climate change.

"As the planet grapples with conflicts and disasters, the staggering numbers of 47 million new internal displacements tells a harrowing tale," said IOM deputy director general Ugochi Daniels.

"This report is a stark reminder of the urgent and coordinated need to expand disaster risk reduction, support peacebuilding, ensure the protection of human rights and whenever possible, prevent the displacement before it happens."

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