Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre
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IDMC’s Mid-year update reveals the most significant new internal displacements associated with conflict, violence and disasters around the world between January and June 2020.
The key points of this report at a glance:
- 14.6 million new internal displacements detected across 127 countries in the first six months of 2020. Conflict and violence triggered around 4.8 million and disasters 9.8 million.
- Conflict and violence displacement increased sharply in a number of countries. The half-year figures for Cameroon, Mozambique, Niger and Somalia are already higher than those for the whole of 2019. Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Syria also recorded a significant number of displacements. If such trends continue, the end-of-year figures for many countries are likely to be higher than the previous year.
- Disasters continue to trigger the majority of new displacements worldwide. Cyclone Amphan was the largest single displacement event in the first half of 2020, triggering 3.3 million pre-emptive evacuations in India and Bangladesh. A number of countries in East Africa were hit by major floods and a locust infestation that aggravated food insecurity, and intense bushfires led to unprecedented displacement in Australia. Many IDPs whose homes have been damaged or destroyed face the prospect of prolonged displacement.
- The UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire to focus efforts on tackling the Covid-19 pandemic was taken up in a number of countries, but only briefly. Some parties to the conflicts in Colombia, Myanmar and Yemen suspended their hostilities, reducing displacement in the process, but fighting soon resumed. There was no lull in many other conflicts. Instead the virus has added another layer of complexity to already highly challenging humanitarian situations.
- Measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 have impeded the collection of displacement data. This limits our understanding of how the pandemic has affected IDPs, but it is clear that it has heightened their vulnerabilities as restrictions have put barriers to response and durable solutions efforts. Many in Somalia and Yemen were already struggling to access healthcare, and strict lockdowns have reduced IDPs’ resilience in Afghanistan and Iraq, where many depend on the informal economy to get by. The pandemic has also aggravated protection risks, including the risk of gender-based violence.
- Most displacement that could happen in 2020 is still to be accounted for. Major flooding has taken place in China, Bangladesh and several countries in the Sahel region of Africa since 30 June, and monsoon rains have taken hold in South and East Asia. These events will inevitably have triggered displacement, and more is to be expected given that the typhoon season in East Asia and the Pacific is ongoing. The Atlantic hurricane season is also expected to be particularly active.