Report: All-time High People Displaced Internally in 2021

ADDIS ABABA – The number of people living in internal displacement around the world reached a record 59.1 million at the end of 2021, up from 55 million a year earlier, says a Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)’s annual global report.

The figure is the result of new waves of violence and protracted conflict in countries, says the Norwegian Refugee Council’ or NRC’s displacement monitoring center in its report issued on May 19, 2022.

“The situation today is phenomenally worse than even our record figure suggests, as it doesn’t include nearly eight million people forced to flee the war in Ukraine,” said Jan Egeland, secretary general of the NRC. “We need a titanic shift in thinking from world leaders on how to prevent and resolve conflicts to end this soaring human suffering.”

Around 38 million internal displacements, or movements, were reported during 2021, the second highest annual figure in a decade after 2020’s record-breaking year for disaster displacement.

Conflict and violence triggered 14.4 million movements, an increase of almost 50% on the year before.

Sub-Saharan Africa was the most affected region, with more than five million displacements in Ethiopia alone, the report claims. The DRC, Afghanistan and Myanmar also registered unprecedented numbers in 2021.

The Middle East and North Africa recorded its lowest in ten years as conflict in Syria, Libya and Iraq de-escalated. However, the region’s overall number of internally displaced people (IDPs) “remained concerningly high by the end of the year,” IDMC’s report claims.

“Peacebuilding and development initiatives are needed to resolve the underlying challenges that hold displaced people’s lives in limbo,”said IDMC’s Director, Alexandra Bilak.

Disasters continued to trigger most internal displacements globally, with 23.7 million recorded in 2021. Around 25.2 million are under the age of 18, the report claims.

Weather-related hazards accounted for 94% of the total, many of which were pre-emptive evacuations in the face of cyclones and floods that struck densely populated areas of Asia and the Pacific region.

China, the Philippines and India recorded their highest figures in five years at six million, 5.7 million and 4.9 million, respectively. Conflict and violence collided with disasters in many countries, forcing people to flee several times in Mozambique, Myanmar, Somalia and South Sudan.

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