Central African Republic IDP Figures Analysis
As of 19 May 2015, IDMC estimates that there were 426,200 internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Central African Republic.
This is a two-fold increase on the earlier peaks of 197,000 people displaced in 2007, and the estimated 200,000 people displaced between 2002 and Bozizé’s arrival in power in March 2003.
IDMC’s figures are based upon estimates published by the United Nations (UN), including figures provided by the, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the rapid response mechanism coordinated by the UN Children’s Fund, NGOs operating on the ground, and local authorities and leaders. These figures have been compiled and validated by the Population Movement Commission (CMP) which is a subsidiary of the UNHCR-led protection cluster.
The estimates here represent an incomplete picture. The geographical coverage of displacement has improved over the past year, not least thanks to CMP’s new initiatives, such as its population tracking system, but its figures can still only be considered rough estimates for a number of reasons. One of the biggest limitations of the data available on internal displacement in CAR is the lack of more comprehensive data on the situation in the provinces. In the eastern part of the country, the CMP has struggled to find sources apart from local authorities and some NGOs. While there is some more detailed information in some areas, such as Ouham and Ouaka prefectures, other parts of the country remain a black hole for information on internal displacement. Few if any short-term displacements are likely to be captured, and access to many areas, particularly the bush, is restricted. CMP’s current methodologies endeavour to include IDPs living in displacement sites, with host families and in the bush, but they do not cover those living in rented or abandoned housing. The tracking of movements, whether new displacements or returns, is relatively recent and not comprehensive but no assessment of the durability of returns takes place. As a consequence, the real scale of displacement outside Bangui may be very different from what this figure makes us believe.
Until May 2015, no data on internal displacement disaggregated by age, sex, religious or ethnic group were available.
IDP figures leaped from an estimated 52,000 at the beginning of the current crisis in December 2012 to 958,000 as of 10 January 2014 (peak) and then progressively declined to 426,200 as of 19 May 2015. According to the CMP, there were 82,500 in Ouham prefecture, 64,800 in Ouaka, 58,700 in Bangui and 48,400 in Ombella M’Poko as of May 2015. There were 224,500 IDPs living with host families, 167,800 in camp-like settings and spontaneous settlements - including in and around public buildings such as schools, churches and mosques - and 33.900 in the bush.
Since the transitional president Michel Djotodia resigned on 11 January 2014, more than 130,000 IDPs are believed to have returned home. However, new displacement continues to take place as well.