A new report by the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) has found record levels of internal displacement.
The IDMC’s Global Report on Internal Displacement, which charts people displaced within their home countries as a result of conflict or natural disasters, found that 41.3 million people worldwide were in a state of internal displacement at the end of 2018 – over a million more than in 2017 and the highest figure ever recorded. Between January and December 2018, the IDMC found 28 million new cases of internal displacement.
Alexandra Bilak, Director of the IDMC, said: “This year’s report is a sad reminder of the recurrence of displacement, and of the severity and urgency of IDPs’ [internally displaced persons’] needs. Many of the same factors that drove people from their homes now prevent them from returning or finding solutions in the places they have settled. The fact that cities have become sanctuary to more and more internally displaced people represents a challenge for municipal authorities, but also an opportunity. Leveraging the positive role that local government can play in finding solutions to displacement will be key to addressing this challenge in the future.”
10.8 million of the new displacements for 2018 detailed in the Global Report on Internal Displacement were related to violence and conflict, primarily in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Nigeria; while refugees attempting to return home in Iraq, Nigeria and Syria were met with destroyed property, damaged infrastructure and a lack of basic services. The remaining 17.2 million internal displacements were attributed to natural disasters, predominantly due to extreme weather events in China, India and the Philippines; as well as the US state of California, which was hit by extreme wildfires throughout the autumn of 2018.
Norwegian Refugee Council Secretary General Jan Egeland said: “The findings of this report are a wake-up call to world leaders. Millions of people forced to flee their homes last year are being failed by ineffective national governance and insufficient international diplomacy. Because they haven’t crossed a border, they receive pitiful global attention. All displaced people have a right to protection and the international community has a duty to ensure it.”