Zimbabwe IDP Figures Analysis

As of May 2015, IDMC estimated that there were 36,000 internally displaced people in Zimbabwe as a result of the violence associated with the 2008 elections.


This is based on the figure made public in 2009 by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in its Consolidated Appeal document for Zimbabwe (UNOCHA, 29 May 2009), though anecdotal sources placed the number much higher. Most of those displaced have allegedly been able to return home. A negligible number of displacements were reported in the run-up to and during the 2013 elections.

This figure excludes people displaced by other causes outside conflict and violence, including government policies and actions that have caused internal displacement since 2000. Those affected include former farm workers and their families who were either evicted from their property under a fast-track land reform programme, or who were forced to leave after losing their jobs as agricultural workers. Others were displaced as a result of evictions from informal urban settlements and by a government crackdown against informal mine workers.

Internal displacement in Zimbabwe has been to a large extent an unrecognised phenomenon, but the government acknowledged it in 2008 and conducted a preliminary IDP assessment, albeit limited in scope, with the United Nations in August 2009 (Government of Zimbabwe and UN, February 2010). The government has not yet released publicly the results of the assessment, but it was highlighted at the time that the joint assessment called for a joint quantitative survey of all IDPs in the country, to establish their number and locations. Such a survey would be an important step towards establishing the extent of the displacement crisis in Zimbabwe and it is still strongly supported by civil society organisations.

In the absence of a comprehensive survey, estimating the total number of IDPs is difficult because a significant number have been displaced more than once, and many have returned to their places of origin or have settled either locally or elsewhere in the country.

IDMC uses only the most credible accurate information available. Notwithstanding the caveats and limitations of the source information described above, IDMC believes this to be the best data and is grateful to the partners for sharing it.