More than 71 million internally displaced people in the world, a record

It’s a new record. One crisis piled on top of another forced more than 71 million people to flee into their own country last year. In 2022, 71.1 million people were registered as internally displaced, a 20% jump from the previous year caused by exoduses after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but also catastrophic floods in Pakistan , according to a joint report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

The number of newly displaced people has jumped to almost 61 million people, some of whom have been forced to flee several times. This is 60% more than in 2021. This number is “extremely high”, said IDMC chief Alexandra Bilak. “Much of the increase is caused, of course, by the war in Ukraine, but also by the floods in Pakistan, by new and ongoing conflicts around the world, and by a number of sudden or slow-moving disasters. that we have seen from the Americas to the Pacific. »

Number of IDPs still to rise

Last year, new internal displacement due to conflict soared to 28.3 million, nearly double the previous year and three times the annual average for the past decade. Beyond the 17 million displacements inside Ukraine, eight million people have been driven from their homes by the monster floods in Pakistan. And sub-Saharan Africa has recorded around 16.5 million internal displacements, more than half of them due to conflict, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.

This year, the number of IDPs is expected to increase further. In Sudan, fighting raging since mid-April has already forced more than 700,000 people to flee elsewhere in the country. “Since the beginning of the most recent (…) conflict in April, we have already recorded the same number of displacements as for the whole of 2022,” said Alexandra Bilak. “Obviously it’s a very unstable situation on the ground,” she said.

Natural disasters, the main culprits

Although people are forced to flee all over the world, nearly three-quarters of the internally displaced live in just 10 countries: Syria, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Colombia, Ethiopia, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan (in descending order of the number of IDPs). Many of these displaced are victims of conflicts that have lasted for years, but natural disasters are responsible for most of the new internal displacements. They forced 32.6 million people to flee in 2022. This is 40% more than the previous year.

For the head of the NRC, Jan Egeland, this piling up of crises forms a “perfect storm”. “Conflicts and disasters have combined over the past year to deepen pre-existing vulnerabilities and inequalities, causing displacement on a scale never seen before,” he said in a statement. He also denounced the world food crisis, made even more acute by the war in Ukraine, which “undermined years of progress”.

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