Internal Displacement Update
Issue 8: 15 December 2016 - 11 January 2017

Issue 8 map
Feature

The Philippines

Affected areas

Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Storm)

Figures

More than 2.5 million new displacements between 24 December and 11 January

Context

Approximately 488,000 people were pre-emptively evacuated before typhoon Nock-Ten (local name, Nina) made landfall on 25 December as a category three storm. Several areas declared a state of calamity (NDRRMC, 2 January 2017). Nok-Ten displaced 583,000 families or 2.5 million people. As of 13 January, 116 families or nearly 800 people were still staying in 16 evacuation centres, while everyone who took refuge with friends or family had returned home (DROMIC, 13 January 2017).

East Asia and Pacific

China

Affected areas

More than 70 northern cities

Cause of displacement

Development / Disaster (Air pollution)

Figures

Tens of thousands of new displacements between 16 and 21 December

Context

Tens of thousands of people fled areas of northern China between 16 and 21 December “after the country was hit by its latest ‘airpocalyse’ forcing almost half a billion people to live under a blanket of toxic fumes”. Greenpeace said it had been warning of a winter smog crisis since July 2016, when it began to notice a significant increase in government support for construction projects and heavily-polluting industries such as cement and steel (The Guardian, 21 December 2016). More than 70 cities issued red or orange alerts because of poor air quality (VOA, 21 December 2016). Many people chose to travel to less polluted areas in China or abroad to avoid the smog (The Guardian, 21 December 2016).

Fiji

Affected areas

All four divisions

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Flood)

Figures

More than 2,300 new and repeated displacements between 16 and 22 December

Context

More than 2,300 people took shelter in 119 evacuation centres after heavy rain and landslides. People in some areas described the floods as the worst in living memory. Evacuation centres sheltered 1,300 people in Western division, 400 in Central division, 400 in Northern division and 200 in Eastern division. The floodwaters swept away building supplies meant to be used to repair homes after cyclone Winston in February 2016 (Radio New Zealand, 22 December 2016).

Indonesia

Affected areas

West Nusa Tenggara and Aceh provinces

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Flood)

Figures

More than 134,000 new and repeated displacements between 21 and 24 December

Context

More than 104,000 people in Bima city in West Nusa Tenggara were displaced by two waves of flooding on 21 and 23 December (BNPB, 24 December 2016). As of 5 January, 900 people remained displaced in nine locations, with the number fluctuating as some people returned to the evacuation centre when further heavy rain fell (BNPB, 5 January 2017).

Meanwhile, more than 30,000 people had been evacuated in Aceh province as of 19 December because of heavy rain, floods and landslides (ECHO, 19 December 2016).

Malaysia

Affected areas

Kelantan and Terengganu states

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Flood)

Figures

25,000 new displacements between 31 December and 7 January

Context

About 25,000 people had been displaced in Kelantan and Terengganu states as of 5 January by severe flooding on the east coast of Malaysia since 31 December. Local media reported the number of evacuees had decreased to 13,500 on 7 January as weather conditions improved (OCHA, 9 January 2017).

Mongolia

Affected areas

Northern provinces

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Extreme weather)

Figures

600,000 new displacements in the past 30 years

Context

About 600,000 former herders have migrated to the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, over the past three decades as a result of the dzud, an extreme weather pattern in which an unusually cold winter follows an unusually dry summer. Dzuds are one of many reasons why people have been forced to migrate, however, and climate change, better education and economic and political change have also played a role. About 20 per cent of the country’s people have moved to Ulaanbaatar, doubling the city’s population (The Guardian, 5 January 2017). It is estimated that 40,000 people move there each year (Channel News Asia, 27 December 2017). In November 2016, national and two state agencies issued an emergency warning for a dzud (Save the Children, 20 December 2016). The phenomenon is expected to mainly affect northern areas of the country (IFRC, 17 December 2017). The mayor of Ulaanbaatar has banned people from moving to the city from the countryside until 2018 in a bid to improve air quality, which is among the worst in the world (Xinhua, 10 January 2017).

Myanmar

Affected areas

Kachin state

Cause of displacement

Conflict

Figures

At least 4,000 secondary displacements on 10 January

Context

At least 4,000 people staying in or near the Hkau Shau displacement camp moved towards or across the Chinese border during intense fighting between government forces and the Kachin Independence Army on 10 January. The group included people who normally live in the Hkau Shau camp and people displaced from the Zai Awng - Mung Ga Zup camp by nearby fighting on 27 December. The total population of both camps is 4,600 people. The Joint Strategy Team, a group of national NGOs and faith-based organisations working in the area, has expressed grave concerns about the protection needs of the IDPs, the majority of whom are women, children and older people who have been forced to move various times in recent weeks because of fighting. The UN has been unable to verify the reports or the numbers of people involved because of a lack of access to the area (unpublished OCHA internal bulletin, 11 January 2017, on file with IDMC).

The Philippines

Affected areas

Central Visayas, Davao and Caraga regions

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Storm)

Figures

More than 38,000 new displacements between 7 and 11 January

Context

More than 7,200 people were pre-emptively evacuated before tropical depression Auring made landfalls on 8 and 9 January (NDRRMC, 9 January 2017). The storm displaced 8,900 families or more than 38,000 people in Central Visayas and Caraga. As of 11 January, 870 families or 3,700 people remained in 20 evacuation centres, while everyone who took refuge with friends and family had returned home (DROMIC, 11 January 2017).

Latin America and the Caribbean

Brazil

Affected areas

Rio Grande do Sul

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Flood)

Figures

About 7,900 new displacements between 5 and 10 January

Context

About 2,400 families or 7,900 people were evacuated because of flooding in parts of the Vale do Paranhana area of Rio Grande do Sul after heavy rain that began on 5 January. Worst affected was the municipality of Rolante, where a state of emergency was declared. By 10 January, everyone had returned to their homes (Floodlist, 10 January 2017).

Middle East and North Africa

Iraq

Affected areas

Mosul

Cause of displacement

Conflict

Figures

About 143,000 new displacements between 17 October and 11 January

Context

About 143,000 people were displaced from Mosul between 17 October and 11 January by fighting between the Iraqi army and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) for control of the city (IOM automated dashboard, 11 January 2017).

More than 13,000 people fled Mosul in the five days from 29 December as the second phase of military operations to retake Mosul from ISIL intensified (UN, 3 January 2017). On 2 January alone, some 4,000 people were displaced from eastern Mosul city in one of the largest movements of people in a single day since the beginning of the crisis. Those newly displaced have tended to flee to camps south and east of Mosul. Others have sought refuge with friends and family in neighbourhoods further east from frontline areas, such as Gogchaly (OCHA, 8 January 2017).

Military operations have effectively sealed off the areas of western Mosul city that ISIL controls, leaving people in a siege-like situation with limited access to household goods (OCHA, 8 January 2017).

For women and girls, escaping ISIL control and the conflict to oust them comes with relief and a greater sense of security. But displacement can increase the risk of physical and sexual abuse, and exploitative behaviour including domestic violence and forced marriage (NRC, 18 December 2016).

Experts warn that a failure of the Mosul dam, assessed by the US Army Corps of Engineers as the world’s most dangerous, would put an estimated 10 million people living in the Tigris valley at risk of catastrophic flooding and cause significant loss of life. If the dam were to collapse, 14 metres of water could flood Mosul within one to four hours, Tikrit and Samarra could flood within one or two days, and 10 metres of water could flood Baghdad within three to four days (American Red Cross, 6 January 2017). One civil engineer said: “If there is a breach in the dam, there will be no warning. It’s a nuclear bomb with an unpredictable fuse” (New York Times, 2 January 2017).

Syria

Affected areas

Aleppo, Idlib, Wadi Barada

Cause of displacement

Conflict

Figures

More than 37,000 new displacements between 15 December and 3 January

Context

More than 35,000 people, including more than 100 who were seriously injured or ill, were evacuated from the besieged east of Aleppo city to neighbouring rural areas between 15 and 22 December. The evacuation ran in parallel to an operation from the besieged towns of Fu’ah and Kefraya in Idlib, in which more than 1,200 people, the majority women, children and older people, were temporarily evacuated in the other direction to Aleppo city (ICRC, 22 December 2016).

More than 1,000 people fled from Wadi Barada, northwest of Damascus, toward the outskirts of the Syrian capital because of fighting between the government and its allies and armed opposition groups between 1 and 3 January (ECHO, 3 January 2017).

More than 111,000 people were displaced from eastern Aleppo between 24 November and 30 December. Seventy-five thousand moved to government-controlled areas in and around the city, and more than 36,000 went to 128 locations controlled by armed opposition groups in Idlib and rural Aleppo. Where conditions allow, some families have started to return to their homes in eastern Aleppo (ECHO, 30 December 2016).

As of 31 December 2016, there were 6.3 million IDPs in Syria. Rural Damascus governorate has the highest number of IDPs with 1.4 million, followed by Aleppo governorate with 1 million and Idlib governorate with 909,000 (OCHA, 4 January 2017).

Yemen

Affected areas

All areas

Cause of displacement

Conflict and disasters

Figures

More than two million conflict IDPs and one million returnees; and about 18,000 disaster IDPs and 55,000 returnees as of November 2016

Context

More than two million people were living in displacement due to conflict across Yemen’s 21 governorates as of November 2016, half of them in Hajjah, Taizz, Amanat Al Asimah and Sana’a. Separately, more than one million people had returned to their homes in 19 governorates by the same date, 68 per cent of them in Aden, Amanat Al Asimah and Taizz. (TFPM, January 2017).

About 18,000 people were displaced by disasters across 15 governorates, also as of November 2016, with 55,000 returnees across seven governorates (TFPM, January 2017).

The Norwegian Refugee Council’s secretary general, Jan Egeland, expressed his grave concern about the situation in the country. “Beyond Syria and Iraq that are full blown wars with a lot of attention, I am worried about… Yemen, that may fall in into the abyss of famine. A kind of biblical famine that we have not seen for many, many years” (NRC, 30 December 2016).

South Asia

Afghanistan

Affected areas

Herat, Kandahar, Nangarhar and Nimroz provinces

Cause of displacement

Conflict

Figures

About 30,000 returns from Pakistan and Iran between 18 December and 7 January

Context

About 30,000 undocumented Afghans returned from Pakistan and Iran between 18 December and 7 January (IOM, 24 December 2016, 31 December 2016, 7 January 2017). Between 15 and 29 December 2016, no registered refugees returned except through the Herat crossing from Iran, because of a winter pause in UNHCR’s repatriation programme (OCHA, 29 December 2016).

Unregistered Afghans face greater challenges than returnees with refugee status, because they are not entitled to cash grants from aid agencies, nor other benefits such as education and government-allocated land (Reuters, 12 January 2016). Many returnees are expected to become displaced in Afghanistan, where more than half of displaced people are children, who are at risk of malnutrition and abuse and exploitation, including forced marriage, sexual abuse and harmful child labour (UN, 9 January 2017).

Sub-Saharan Africa

Central African Republic

Affected areas

Bangui

Cause of displacement

Conflict

Figures

More than 5,400 secondary displacements between midDecember and 31 December

Context

More than 5,400 people were displaced again when the government dismantled 2,000 temporary shelters at the 5 Mpoko displacement site near Bangui airport (ECHO, 3 January 2017). Mpoko has 8,400 shelters that are home to more than 28,000 IDPs. The dismantling is part of an operation to close the camp and encourage people to return to their former neighbourhoods, and affected households received cash assistance to help them do so. Some, however, are concerned the payments too small and that their former properties have been occupied by other people (ECHO, 3 January 2017). Others have lived at the camp for three years and are unsure how they will pay higher rents in their former neighbourhoods (VOA, 19 December 2016).

Democratic Republic of Congo

Affected areas

Kongo Central, Kasaï, Kasaï- Central, Kasaï-Oriental provinces

Cause of displacement

Conflict and disaster (Flood)

Figures

More than 110,000 new displacements between August and December

Context

More than 100,000 people fled their homes in Kasaï, Kasaï-Central and Kasaï-Oriental provinces between August and December because of fighting between the military and an armed group frustrated that the government has not recognised local leaders (Reuters, 9 January 2017; OCHA, 6 January 2017).

In addition, 10,000 people were left homeless on 26 December when the Kalamu river broke its banks following torrential rain, flooding two districts of the port city of Boma in Kongo Central province and severely damaging their housing (Reuters, 28 December 2016). The authorities did not set up any public shelters, but instead encouraged people to stay with friends or relatives (France24, 29 December 2016).

Nigeria

Affected areas

North-east region

Cause of displacement

Conflict

Figures

More than 30,000 returns to Gujba local government area in Yobe state between June 2016 and January 2017; more than 3,000 returns to Borno state - some from Niger - on 26 December 2017

Context

More than 30,000 IDPs returned to Gujba in Yobe state between June 2016 and January 2017 (OCHA, 9 January 2017). More than 3,000 displaced people returned to the town of Damasak in Borno state on 26 December following the reopening of major roads in the area. They returned from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno, and Niger (Reuters, 27 December 2016).

On 7 January, Boko Haram fighters launched a major attack on a military brigade in Buni Yadi in Gujba and engaged soldiers in a shootout. In Borno, the Islamist insurgents killed 20 people in attacks in the local government areas of Gubio, Damboa, Mobbar and Maiduguri, which host nearly a million IDPs. The attack raises security concerns as humanitarian agencies scale up assistance (OCHA, 9 January 2017).

Notes The terminology, names and designations used in this update and the material in links do not imply any opinion on the part of IDMC.
Displacement figures reported here are indicative only and have been rounded to the nearest 100 (if the total is less than 10,000) or 1,000 (if the figure is 10,000 or larger). For IDMC-validated and peer-reviewed figures, read our Global Report on Internal Displacement.