Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID) 2019

IDMC, 2019


The 2019 Global Report on Internal Displacement presents global figures for internal displacement in 2018, including internal displacement due to conflict and violence.

  • An estimated 3 million people were living in internal displacement as a result of conflict and violence at the end of 2018, the highest figure ever recorded, and an increase of about 1.4 million since 2017. Three-quarters (30.9 million people) were located in just ten countries: Syria (6.1 million), Colombia (5.8 million), DRC (3.1 million), Somalia (2.6 million), Afghanistan (2.6 million), Yemen (2.3 million), Nigeria (2.2 million), Ethiopia (2.1 million), Sudan (2.1 million), and Iraq (2 million).
  • 8 million new displacements due to conflict and violence were recorded in 2018. The main causes were armed conflict (4.9 million), communal violence (4.2 million), political violence (995,000), and criminal violence (255,000). Ethiopia (2.9 million), DRC (1.8 million) and Syria (1.6 million) accounted for more than half of new conflict-related displacements in 2018. Substantial new displacements were recorded in Somalia (578,000), Nigeria (541,000), CAR (510,000), Cameroon (459,000), Afghanistan (372,000), South Sudan (321,000) and Yemen (252,000).
  • The majority of new displacements (7.4 million) occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In Ethiopia, conflict over resources and ethnic violence displaced 2.9 million people. In Somalia, regional clashes, fighting between al-Shabaab and pro-government forces and forced evictions caused the highest number of new displacements in a decade. New waves of violence in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region combined with the ongoing insurgency of Boko Haram and other armed groups in the northeast displaced 541,000 people. New conflict in the Anglophone region of Cameroon displaced 459,000 people. New conflicts also erupted in Mali and Burkina Faso, linked to the emergence of extremist groups, inter-communal clashes and unresolved socioeconomic grievances. There were an estimated 16.5 million conflict IDPs in SSA as of the end of the year, including more than 3 million in DRC (a conservative, incomplete estimate).
  • 1 million new displacements were recorded in the Middle East. While the conflict in Syria subsided, it nevertheless contributed to large-scale displacement. Government offensives to retake parts of Idlib and Dara’a governorates and the Damascus suburbs triggered most of the 1.6 million new displacements. Conflict in Yemen escalated in the second half of 2018. Ongoing insecurity and widespread destruction continues to prevent returns.
  • Several countries, e.g. Ethiopia, Nigeria and Afghanistan, were affected by displacement related to both conflict and disasters. Many people who fled disasters in countries such as Syria, Somalia, Iraq and Yemen, had already been displaced by conflict.
  • Data on internal displacement is incomplete. Figures for DRC, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sudan and Yemen are underestimates, and data are scarce for other countries including Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Russia, Turkey and Venezuela.

The 2019 report focuses on internal displacement to urban areas and discusses the consequent humanitarian and development challenges. Of the 41.3 million conflict IDPs in 55 countries at the end of 2018, location information was obtained for 19.8 million in 12 countries. Within these 12 countries, specific caseloads were selected where good quality geo-referenced data was available. IDMC’s analysis concluded that 52 per cent of IDPs were living in urban settings in these 12 countries. Key messages:

  • Internal displacement is increasingly becoming an urban phenomenon. Cities are often the preferred destination for IDPs. Airstrikes and shelling in cities (e.g. in Dara’a in Syria, Hodeidah in Yemen and Tripoli in Libya) accounted for much of the new displacements recorded in the Middle East. Widespread destruction and unexploded ordinances (e.g. Mosul in Iraq and Marawi in the Philippines) prevent people from returning despite the end to active conflict.
  • This creates challenges for cities and can aggravate existing risk factors. Urban IDPs face poverty, tenure insecurity and secondary displacement due to flooding and evictions (e.g. IDPs in Kabul and Mogadishu).
  • Lessons can be learned from new initiatives (e.g. Medellín in Colombia, Mosul in Iraq) where local governments and communities have taken the lead in responding to internal displacement.
  • Service delivery to IDPs continues to be a humanitarian imperative in active crises and camp settings, but is also central to development efforts in urban and protracted displacement situations.

The report identifies three main areas for effective action at the city level:

  • Data and analysis: systematically account for urban IDPs; record their number and the duration and severity of their displacement, disaggregated by sex, age, disability and other relevant criteria; monitor movements and conditions of displaced over time; undertake profiling exercises that include both displaced and host populations; and ensure that any data collected is interoperable.
  • Capacity and participation: build on communities’ existing capacities, including for the collection of data on their vulnerabilities and needs, as well as their existing resources, skills and community services; strengthen the capacity of local organizations and government departments for data and statistical analysis; work with IDPs and those at risk of displacement to identify priority areas in service delivery and infrastructure development; and identify urban development approaches that accommodate informality (e.g. flexible and secure tenure arrangements, adaptive labor market strategies).

Incentives and political will: estimate the impacts of IDPs on city development and assess risks of inaction for the economy, security, stability and social wellbeing; advocate for new financing mechanisms to support city action and make displacement risk one of the core considerations in urban planning and development; document successful responses to internal displacement in cities and provide a platform for exchange and learning; recognize IDPs as local citizens, even when return is their preferred solution, by allowing voting rights, and supporting public participation and access to documentation