Central African Republic IDP Figures Analysis
As of 15 October 2014, IDMC estimates that there were 410,000 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 Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as the International Organization for Migration (IOM). These figures have been compiled and verified by the Population Movement Commission (CMP) which is a subsidiary of the UNHCR-led protection cluster.
The estimates here represent an incomplete picture. In the CAR, IDP data is not collected systematically, meaning that sources, standards and frequency of data collection vary from location to location. In Bangui, for example, the displacement tracking matrix run by IOM, international NGOs, national NGOs and religious leaders provide the CMP with weekly information on the number of IDPs in a given location. Outside the capital, however, IDP data is collected almost exclusively at displacement camps. This means that the number of IDPs living outside of camps with host families remains unclear.
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. The lack of sufficient data on population movements outside Bangui is mainly due to the restricted presence of government or international actors and insufficient information flow (IDMC interviews, February 2014). While there is some more detailed information in some areas, such as Bossangoa, other parts of the country remain a black hole for information on internal displacement. This is why the public number of people displaced outside of Bangui has been kept at 425,000 since mid-December, despite known population movements (Commission Mouvement de Population, April 2014). As a consequence, the real scale of displacement outside Bangui may be very different from what this figure makes us believe. Since February, the CMP has been working on a methodology to obtain better and more comprehensive data on displacement in the provinces. Its results are still to be published (IDMC interview, February 2014).
Until July 2014, no data on internal displacement disaggregated by age, sex, religious or ethnic group were available.
In addition, no systematic tracking of return movements or assessments of progress towards durable solutions is happening, meaning these are not sufficiently reflected in current estimates.
IDP figures leaped from an estimated 225,000 at the beginning of September 2013 to 958,000 as of 10 January 2014 (peak) and then declined to 410,000 as of 15 October 2014. According to OCHA, 82,000 people are internally displaced in the capital, Bangui, in October 2014.
Since the transitional president Michel Djotodia resigned on 11 January 2014, some 100,000 IDPs are believed to have returned home. However, new displacement continues to take place as well.