Migration Group Says 76 Million Displaced in 2023

04:44 May 15, 2024

Migration Group Says 76 Million Displaced in 2023

Conflicts and natural disasters caused nearly 76 million people to be displaced within their countries a migration research group says.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) said violence in Sudan, Congo and the Middle East is driving two-thirds of new displacement.

The Geneva-based IDMC released its report on May 14. It found that the number of internally displaced people has increased 50 percent over the past five years. The number does not cover refugees: displaced people who flee to another country.

The report deals with two major sets of information. It counted 46.9 million physical movements of people in 2023. Sometimes the people moved more than once. In most of those cases, the displaced people are expected to return. They are forced from their homes because of natural disasters like floods.

The group also follows the number of people who were living away from their homes in 2023. Those include people still displaced from earlier years. That total is 75.9 million people at the end of last year. Half of those people were in countries south of the Sahara Desert in Africa.

Jan Egeland is secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which runs the research organization. He said the findings of the latest report are that the world is in a deep crisis. He said, “We have never, ever recorded worse figures for internal displacement by violence, by conflict, by persecution.”

Almost 90 percent of the total displacement was linked to conflict. About 10 percent was tied to the effects of natural disasters.

The displacement of more than 9 million people in Sudan at the end of 2023 was a record for a single country since the center started collecting information 16 years ago. Sudan’s conflict began in April 2023 as increasing tensions between the military and the Rapid Support Forces broke out into open fighting.

The group also reported on movements in Gaza. It said there were a total of 3.4 million movements in Gaza in the last three months of 2023. The activity followed the Israeli military reaction to the October 7 attacks on Israel by Gaza’s Hamas rulers. Many people moved more than once within the territory, and all of the movements were counted. There are about 2.2 million people in Gaza. At the end of the year, 1.7 million people were displaced in Gaza.

Director Alexandra Bilak said the millions of people forced to flee in 2023 was the “tip of the iceberg.” She said there are tens of millions of displaced people from other conflicts, violence and disasters.

Supporters say the report’s figures show the effects of conflict, climate change and other factors on human movements. The United Nations refugee agency follows data on displacement across borders but not within countries. And the U.N. migration agency follows all movements of people, including for economic or lifestyle reasons.

I’m Gregory Stachel.

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