Report Finds Continued Rise in Internal Displacement, Influx to Cities
Photo by Peter Berko
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Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Syria accounted for more than half of the people displaced by conflict.

The Philippines, China and India had the highest number of people displaced by disasters, mostly as a result of tropical cyclones and monsoon floods.

The report emphasizes local action in cities and towns will become increasingly important, given the growing number of internally displaced people living in urban centers.

10 May 2019: The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) released its yearly report on internal displacement. The 2019 edition of the Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID) focuses on urban internal displacement, observing that conflict and insecurity, climate shocks and rural economic changes often drive displacement towards cities.

GRID 2019 finds that there were 28 million new displacements associated with conflict and disasters in 2018, resulting in 41.3 million people estimated to be living in internal displacement at the end of 2018. The authors stress that, although these displacements took place across 149 countries and territories, internal displacement is “heavily concentrated in a few countries and triggered by a few events.” Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Syria accounted for more than half of the people displaced by conflict. Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East were disproportionately affected by displacement as a result of conflict and violence, with 7.4 million and 2.1 million people displaced, respectively.

Local action in cities and towns will become increasingly important, given the growing number of internally displaced people living in urban centers.

The Philippines, China and India had the highest number of people displaced by disasters, mostly in the form of evacuations as a result of tropical cyclones and monsoon floods. The US ranked fourth in the number of people displaced, in part due to the most destructive wildfires in California’s history. Weather related-hazards, particularly storms, contributed to the majority of displacements associated with disasters.

In addition, a number of countries experienced both disasters and conflicts. Drought in Afghanistan triggered more displacement than conflict. Floods in Nigeria exacerbated conflicts in the country. In Syria, most of the people displaced by disasters had fled conflict and were living in camps that flooded.

The report highlights the importance of systemically monitoring internal displacement to ensure that all actors working to tackle internal displacement have accurate and comprehensive data. The report recommends, inter alia: improving government agencies’ capacity to record displacement data; providing local and national authorities with financial and technical support to conduct needs assessments, risk analyses and monitoring; promoting common standards; and strengthening cooperation, coordination, and national and international partnerships. The report describes these actions as critical in providing the evidence base necessary for humanitarian operations, development planning and policy work.

GRID 2019 examines the humanitarian and development challenges that result from displacement to, between and within cities and towns. Within cities, displacement increasingly occurs as a result of disasters, urban conflict or infrastructure or urban renewal projects. The report states that national governments have the primary responsibility for addressing internal displacement, but emphasizes that local action in cities and towns will become increasingly important, given the growing number of internally displaced people living in urban centers. The report calls for increased investment at the city level to strengthen the capacity of local authorities and communities to analyze, plan and act jointly to address urban displacement and reduce risks. [IDMC Press Release] [Publication: Global Report on Internal Displacement 2019]

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