The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre is the world’s authoritative source of data and analysis on internal displacement. Internal displacement refers to people being forced to flee their homes or places of habitual residence but who remain within their country’s borders. Such displacements can be the result of conflict, violence, development projects, natural disasters, or climate change. As of the end of 2018, over 41 million people were living in internal displacement because of conflict and violence alone.
This year, natural disasters are causing a record number of internal displacements. In the first half of the year, 7 million people were displaced by disasters, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all the internal displacements worldwide. The IDMC estimates that this number could hit 22 million by the end of the year.
The vast majority of displacement has been associated with storms and floods. Cyclone Fani alone in May displaced more than 3.4 million people in India and Bangladesh. In March, Cyclone Idai displaced 617,000 people in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. In total, 950 extreme weather events in 102 countries and territories displaced 7 million people from January to June.
Technically speaking, internally displaced people are not considered to be refugees because they remain in their home countries. But the growing millions of people represent a global crisis that continues to worsen with the changing climate. The international community cannot ignore the plight of these people. Governments around the world have to redouble their efforts to protect and assist their displaced citizens as well as to invest in sustainable development and climate change adaptation.
Extreme Weather Displaced 7 Million People in First Half of 2019
Photo, posted August 5, 2012, courtesy of the U.S. Embassy, Jakarta via Flickr.
Earth Wise is a production of WAMC Northeast Public Radio.