New figures published by the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) show that more people were displaced by weather disasters in 2020 than by violent conflicts. Further, the publication indicates the number of internally displaced people in the world reached the highest level in history. 

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A total of 55 million internal displacements were recorded last year, making it the worst year on record in terms of displacements. This not only includes the number of people displaced but also the number of displacements. For instance, if a woman is displaced from her home due to political violence and settles somewhere else, where she is displaced by a weather disaster, two displacements are recorded. 

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As The Guardian reports, IDMC numbers show that in 2020 alone there were “more than 40 million new displacements.” This is the highest annual figure in 10 years. Of the 40 million displacements, 30 million are a result of weather disasters. Disasters such as storms, wildfires and floods led to three times the number of displacements caused by conflicts.

This issue affected East Asia and the Pacific region the most, with about 30.3% of all new weather-related displacements recorded in the area. The second most affected was Sub-Saharan Africa, which accounted for 27.4% of all the new displacements.

“Every year, millions of people are forced to flee their homes because of conflict and violence. Disasters and the effects of climate change regularly trigger new and secondary displacement, undermining people’s security and wellbeing,” the IDMC report said. “The scale of displacement worldwide is increasing, and most of it is happening within countries’ borders.”

The countries most affected by “disaster-driven internal displacements” are Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Afghanistan recorded 1.1 million people displaced, India 929,000 and Pakistan 806,000.

According to IDMC director Alexandra Bilak, the displacements are caused by many interconnected factors, with climate change being a major contributor.

“Today’s displacement crises arise from many interconnected factors, including climate and environmental change, protracted conflicts and political instability. In a world made more fragile by the Covid-19 pandemic, sustained political will and investment in locally owned solutions will be more important than ever,” Bilak said.

The Norwegian Refugee Council’s secretary general Jan Egeland adds to this, saying, “It’s shocking that someone was forced to flee their home inside their own country every single second last year. We are failing to protect the world’s most vulnerable people from conflict and disasters.”


Via The Guardian

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