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Record 76 million internally displaced globally, conflicts and disasters drive surge: Report

Record 76 million internally displaced globally, conflicts and disasters drive surge: Report
15 May 2024 10:03

ISIDORA CIRIC (ABU DHABI)

Conflicts and natural disasters pushed the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to an unprecedented high of 75.9 million worldwide in 2023, marking a 51% increase over the past five years, an NGO monitor said on Tuesday.

Conflicts have been the most significant driver of internal displacement, with 44% of IDPs worldwide being victims of violence and unrest, the annual Global Report on Internal Displacement released by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) revealed.

“Conflict and violence triggered 20.5 million new internal displacements, or movements, across 45 countries and territories during 2023,” the IDMC highlighted, with the total number of conflict-related displacements reaching a total of 68.3 million people.

Conflicts in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Palestine accounted for nearly two-thirds of new movements in 2023, the NGO added, while Sudan, Syria, DRC, Colombia, and Yemen collectively host nearly half of the global IDP population.

In Gaza, where approximately 83% of the population is displaced, the ongoing conflict triggered 3.4 million new displacements in just the final quarter of the year.

“Evacuation calls, airstrikes and shelling triggered 3.4 million internal displacements in the last quarter of the year as people fled in search of safety and humanitarian assistance,” the report noted, warning that the figures are conservative and likely understate the full scale of displacement within the territory.

Furthermore, over 60% of the housing in the Gaza Strip has been damaged or destroyed, complicating any efforts toward achieving durable solutions once the conflict eases, the IDMC added.

In the Middle East and North Africa, the conflict in Palestine contributed to an eightfold increase in conflict-related displacements, reversing the trend of decreases over the past three years.

This region also recorded its highest-ever disaster displacement figures, primarily due to severe earthquakes and floods.

In addition to conflict, natural disasters have also played a critical role in displacement, the report said, with 26.4 million new movements recorded in 2023 alone - among the highest in the past decade.

Earthquakes caused 6.1 million displacements, and combined with volcanic activity, triggered “as many displacements in 2023 as in the previous seven years combined.”

The catastrophic Türkiye-Syria earthquakes caused 4.7 million of these displacements, while the Philippines, Afghanistan, and Morocco also reported a significant uptick in quake-related incidents.

The African continent witnessed a period of severe floods following prolonged droughts, causing 2.9 million movements in the Horn of Africa, while Cyclone Freddy in south-eastern Africa triggered 1.4 million movements across six countries and territories.

The conflict-disaster nexus compounds the global displacement crisis, forcing individuals to face multiple crises at once.

As conflict-related displacement often lasts for months or years, it often overlaps with natural disaster crises, further exacerbating displacement, as reported by nearly all countries.

“All but three of the 45 countries and territories that reported conflict displacement last year also reported disaster displacement,” the report said, warning that the figure continues to rise due to the lack of a durable solution.

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