Conflict and disasters triggered 33.4 million new internal displacements across 145 countries and territories in 2019.
Conflict and violence triggered 8.5 million new displacements in 50 countries in 2019, the majority of which were by armed conflict and in low- and middle-income countries.
Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Ethiopia accounted for more than a million new displacements each.
Nearly 1,900 disasters triggered 24.9 million new displacements across 140 countries and territories in 2019. This is the highest figure recorded since 2012 and three times the number of displacements caused by conflict and violence.
Bangladesh, China, India and the Philippines each recorded more than 4 million disaster displacements.
"Conflict, violence and disasters continue to uproot millions of people from their homes every year. Never in IDMC’s history have we recorded more people internally displaced than we do today."
Alexandra Bilak, Director, IDMC
Most of the new displacements triggered by conflict and violence in 2019 were recorded in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and north Africa. An unprecedented number were recorded in Burkina Faso, and significant increases were seen in Mali and Libya.
Most of the new displacements triggered by disasters in 2019 were recorded in East Asia and Pacific and South Asia. Monsoon rains, floods and tropical storms hit highly exposed areas that are home to millions of people.
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There were 2.6 million new displacements in 2019. Figures for Iraq were slightly lower than the decade average as the country’s conflict wanes, but the fighting in Syria is far from over and more new displacements were recorded in 2019 than in 2018. Long-running conflicts in Yemen and Libya also led to an increase in displacement.
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Most of the disaster displacement recorded worldwide in 2019 took place in this region, a result of monsoon rains, typhoons and earthquakes. Conflict and violence also triggered displacement in Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
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About 9.5 million disaster displacements were recorded in 2019, the highest figure since 2012. Floods, monsoon rains and cyclones Fani and Bulbul in India and Bangladesh forced millions to flee their homes. Conflict and violence also triggered displacement in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, and to a lesser extent Sri Lanka.
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Floods triggered the majority of the 1.5 million disaster displacements recorded in the Americas in 2019, as rivers burst their banks and forced whole communities to flee from Canada to Argentina. Conflict and violence triggered 602,000 new displacements across the region, driven largely by criminal and gang violence in Central and South America.
Relatively little displacement was recorded compared with other regions, preserving a trend set in previous years. Figures on disaster displacement were more than double the figures for 2018. The majority were the result of floods, wildfires and earthquakes.
There were 50.8 million internally displaced people across the world at the end of 2019, 45.7 million as a result of conflict and violence, and 5.1 million as a result of disasters. The latter is the first ever global estimate for disasters.
There were visible efforts to prevent and respond to internal displacement in 2019, and promising developments in a number of countries highlighted the key ingredients for success.
New national initiatives showed greater levels of political commitment. Strengthened capacity across humanitarian and development sectors manifested in better coordination and increased investment. Improvements in the quantity and quality of data available also enabled better reporting and analysis, which in turn informs more effective responses and risk mitigation measures.
This next decade has the potential to become an important chapter in global efforts to reduce protracted displacement. For learning to take place, a global partnership is needed to systematically collect, evaluate and share practices and experience, and facilitate peer-to-peer learning and support.
Exchange and cooperation among states that are dealing with internal displacement will be essential. More support into these is needed, as they can become catalysts to create incentives for countries to act.
Head of Mexico's Migration Policy, Registration and Identity of Persons Bureau, Ministry of Interior, Rocío González Higuera
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Alexandra Bilak has almost 20 years’ experience in the international non-profit sector, with a focus on research and policy development on displacement in the context of armed conflict, violence, disasters and climate change. She joined the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre in Geneva as Head of Policy and Research in 2014, where she directed the first publication of IDMC’s flagship report the Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID), becoming its Director in August 2016.
Prior to joining IDMC, Alexandra spent a decade working in sub-Saharan Africa for international NGOs and research institutes, including Oxfam, the Life & Peace Institute, the International Rescue Committee and the Danish Refugee Council. She lived and worked in Rwanda in 2001, the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2004 to 2008, and in Kenya from 2009 to 2014. She has published extensively on the themes of forced displacement, conflict and civil society development.
Alexandra holds a Master's degree in International Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and a DEA (Diplôme d’Études Approfondies) in African Studies and Political Science from the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. She is bilingual French-English.
Jan Egeland is Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). In September 2015, Egeland was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as Special Adviser to the UN Special Envoy for Syria with a focus on humanitarian access and protection of civilians. He ended this role in December 2018.
From 2003-2006, Egeland served as UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. Before taking up his post in NRC in 2013, Egeland came from the position as Europe Director of Human Rights Watch (2011−2013), and prior to that as Executive Director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (2007−2011).
He has also served as the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser to Colombia (1999−2001) and State Secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1990−1997). In 2006, Time Magazine named Egeland as one of the ‘100 people who shape our world’.
Bina has extensive programme and research experience on socio-economic development in low income countries. Having previously worked in Bangladesh, Ghana, Honduras, India, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and the Philippines, her research interests include the structural causes of crises, economic and development impacts of disaster and conflict, internal displacement and forced migration.
She has worked for the German Ministry for Development, the Aga Khan Development Network, Christian Aid and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
In 2017, Bina joined IDMC as the Head of Policy & Research and leads IDMC's team of senior advisors and researchers in displacement-related policy analysis and evidence building. Bina holds a Masters in Economics and Sociology from the University of Bielefeld and a PhD in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
Displacement (GRID), working closely with all departments for the development of IDMC’s flagship report on internal displacement.
He previously worked at UNISDR, where he worked on a global policy review exercise that formed the basis for national policy indicators for the Sendai Framework, as well as coordinating research and country programmes, developing disaster loss and damage data and analysis, and government capacity building on risk knowledge at national and regional levels. He worked in a number of countries across Africa, Central and Southern Asia, and the Pacific.
Vicente holds a BA in History and Geography from the University of Los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia) and a MA in Human Geography and Migration Studies from the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland). He speaks Spanish, French and English.
Justin Ginnetti is IDMC’s Head of Data and Analysis. He joined IDMC in 2012 after having served as a policy officer at the UN’s office of disaster risk reduction (UNISDR) where he worked on the Global Assessment Report. He served as a chapter scientist and contributing author of the IPCC’s Special Report on Extreme Events and Disasters (SREX), and the WMO’s guidance on assessing droughts. At IDMC, Justin and his team are responsible for all of the figures in the Global Report on Internal Displacement. He also leads IDMC’s efforts to estimate future displacement risk, assess displacement associated with slow-onset hazards, detect incidents of internal displacement and fill gaps in data through the use of mathematical models, analysis of “big data” and new technologies.
Justin holds a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, where he studied climate change-induced displacement and forced migration of agro-pastoralists in the Horn of Africa. Previously, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania.
He is fluent in English and French.