Friday, 15 January 2021

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Record-breaking 38 million people internally displaced by conflict or violence

IDPUkraine Photo Credit: UNHCR/E.Ziyatdinova

07 May 2015 – The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) along with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), have released alarming figures that 38 million people have been forced to flee their homes within their own country because of conflict or violence.

These numbers are part of the new Global Overview 2015: people internally displaced by conflict and violence report, for which the NRC’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) compiled the data, based on monitoring between January and December 2014.

“We know that more and more internally displaced have been forced to move within their country multiple times,” said Volker Türk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection. “The longer a conflict lasts, the more insecure [displaced persons] feel and when hopelessness sets in, many will cross borders and become refugees."

Historic high in number of people newly displaced in a year

The number of 38 million represents an increase of 4.7 million compared to 2013.

According to the report, never in the last 10 years of IDMC’s global reporting, has such a high estimate for the number of people newly displaced in a year been witnessed.

The majority of this – accounting for 60 per cent of new displacement globally – took place as a result of the protracted crises in Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Nigeria.

Most new displacement took place in Iraq, where at least 2.2 million people fled from areas that fell under Islamic State (ISIL) control. Of the internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Middle East and North Africa, 90% were living in Iraq and Syria.

In addition to country-specific data, the Global Overview highlights how long-lasting displacement contributes to this alarmingly high global total. In 2014, there were people living in displacement for 10 years or more in nearly 90 per cent of the 60 countries and territories monitored by the report.

New displacement in Europe for the first time in a decade

In Ukraine, the war has caused 646,500 people to flee their homes, initially from Crimea and later from the east as the conflict intensified.

This development in Ukraine marks the first time in a decade that Europe has suffered massive enforced displacement.

More information

Discover more on the record-breaking numbers of internally displaced people in the report.

For additional information and resources visit UNHCR’s thematic page.

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