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Human displacement soars

19 May 20230 comments

A record 61 million people were displaced within their own countries last year as result of conflict or natural disaster, a new report from the United Nations reveals.

The number represents a 60 per cent rise on the previous year and is the highest ever recorded, according to the Global Report on Internal Displacement 2023.

This the figure includes not just new displacements, but also repeated ones.The report shows that conflict and violence triggered 28.3 million displacements, the highest figure in a decade, with Ukraine accounting for 60 per cent of the total.

It says each year, millions of people are displaced because of disasters.

But last year, disasters including the floods in Pakistan and typhoon Noru in the Philippines led to 32.6 million internal displacements, also the highest ever recorded.

And the number is expected to rise as the frequency, duration and intensity of natural hazards worsens with the onset of climate change.

The World Bank has projected that as many as 216 million people could become internal climate migrants by 2050, if concerted climate action is not taken, the report says.

The report highlights food insecurity as a driver, consequence and potential barrier to solutions to internal displacement.

“Unprecedented, multi-dimensional crises are becoming the norm and the impact on human mobility is increasingly evident. Crises related to ongoing climate impacts, the lingering effects of the pandemic, economic instability, rising food prices and the global reverberations of war in Europe resulted in record-high levels of food insecurity in large parts of the world in 2022,” it says. 

“Despite these daunting challenges, knowledge gaps remain in how the international community understands and addresses internal displacement in conflict and disaster contexts.”

The report says concrete action needs to be taken now to find sustainable solutions to internal displacement, and is an invaluable tool for humanitarian and development partners, governments and a range of diverse stakeholder groups as they work to prepare for and prevent future displacements.

“Last year, conflict, disasters, and the continued effects of the Covid-19 pandemic combined to aggravate people’s pre-existing vulnerabilities and inequalities. The war in Ukraine made everything even worse,” the report said.

“And it all fuelled a global food security crisis that hit the poorest and most vulnerable, including internally displaced people (IDPs), hardest. This perfect storm has undermined years of progress made in reducing global hunger and malnutrition.

“Three quarters of the countries experiencing food security crises had internally displaced populations. We have never before recorded internal displacement on this scale. Some 71.1 million people were living in internal displacement as of the end of 2022, a sharp increase compared with 2021, mostly the result of the conflict in Ukraine, but also because of entrenched conflicts and disasters that uproot millions of people every year.

“Many IDPs live in protracted displacement and extreme food insecurity. The lack of comprehensive data on these overlapping crises hampers efforts to establish a vital evidence base to inform policies to prevent, respond and achieve longer-term solutions to them,” the report said.

“We are seeing the continuing trend of unprecedented large-scale disasters causing significant loss of life, destruction of homes and livelihoods and new levels of displacements. Enhancing our common efforts on climate action and investing in safe, regular and orderly migration pathways is more important than ever,” said International Organisation for Migration Director António Vitorino. 
“Determining the needs of people who are forced to move because of conflict, violence and disasters is crucial to ensure humanitarian assistance and essential services can reach people who need this support the most in a timely manner,” he said  
Read the full report: IDMC | GRID 2023 | 2023 Global Report on Internal Displacement (