Pakistan's Premier Multilingual News Agency

76mn people displaced globally due to climate change and conflicts

Melbourne, 14 May 2024, (GMP): Amidst escalating conflicts and the growing impact of climate change-induced disasters, the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) surged to nearly 76 million by the close of 2023, as reported in the annual Global Report on Internal Displacement by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

This significant rise underscores the urgent need for concerted international efforts to address both the root causes of conflict and the effects of climate change, ensuring the safety and well-being of millions forced to flee their homes in search of refuge.

According to the NGO monitor, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) surged over 50% in the last five years, reaching a new high of over 76 million by the end of 2023, up from 71.1 million in 2022.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s report highlights that 68.3 million people worldwide were displaced by conflict and violence, with an additional 7.7 million displaced by disasters.

In South Asia alone, around 3.7 million internal displacements were reported in 2023, with disasters accounting for 3.6 million, the lowest figure since 2018.

Specifically in Pakistan, from 2014 to 2023, approximately 1.2 million individuals were displaced due to disasters, while 23,000 were displaced due to conflicts.

“Pakistan recorded the second highest number of IDPs in the region, with about 1.2 million people displaced by disasters,” the report stated, highlighting that most people were “forced to flee their homes during the 2022 floods”.

During the same period, data on internal displacement movements revealed that approximately 732,000 displacements were due to disasters, while 2,800 were attributed to conflicts from 2014 to 2023.

“Pakistan accounted for around half of the total with 647,000 displacements, most of which took place in July and particularly in the eastern province of Punjab. Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh were also affected,” read the report, adding that the same provinces were the “worst affected” by the devastating 2022 monsoon floods, and some of the communities displaced were forced to flee again in 2023.

9.1 million IDPs in Sudan

Over the past five years, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to conflict has risen by 22.6 million, with the largest increases observed in 2022 and 2023.

Sudan holds the record for the highest number of IDPs in a single country since records began in 2008, with 9.1 million. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly half of all IDPs globally.

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen alarming new levels of people having to flee their homes due to conflict and violence, even in regions where the trend had been improving,” said IDMC director Alexandra Bilak.

“Conflict, and the devastation it leaves behind, is keeping millions from re-building their lives, often for years on end.”

Damning verdict’

The monitor diligently tracks internal displacements, capturing each new forced movement within borders, acknowledging that individuals can be displaced multiple times.

In the preceding year, there were 46.9 million forced movements, with 20.5 million attributed to conflict and violence, and 26.4 million to disasters. Notably, conflicts in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Palestinian territories led to nearly two-thirds of new movements in 2023.

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In the Gaza Strip alone, 1.7 million Palestinians were internally displaced by the end of 2023, with 3.4 million new movements, spurred by the deadliest Gaza war in October.

Sudan witnessed six million forced movements in 2023 due to escalating violence, surpassing the cumulative count of the previous 14 years. This marks the second-highest number of forced movements in a single year, trailing behind Ukraine’s 16.9 million in 2022.

Among the 26.4 million forced movements due to disasters, a third occurred in China and Turkey, triggered by severe weather events and high-magnitude earthquakes.

Established in 1998 by the Norwegian Refugee Council, the IDMC remains committed to monitoring and addressing internal displacement worldwide.

“We have never, ever recorded so many people forced away from their homes and communities. It is a damning verdict on the failures of conflict prevention and peace-making,” said NRC chief Jan Egeland.

“The lack of protection and assistance that millions endure cannot be allowed to continue.”