Measuring the Costs of Internal Displacement on IDPs And Hosts: Case Studies in Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya And Somalia

Christelle Cazabat

IDMC Thematic Series: The ripple effect: economic impacts of internal displacement, January 2020


This report presents the first results of IDMC’s standardized survey for assessing the economic impacts of internal displacement on livelihoods, housing, health, education and security of IDPs and host communities. Data from the survey and key informant interviews are used to compare the situation of IDPs and hosts before and after displacement. The four case studies illustrate diverse internal displacement situations:

  • In Eswatini (Swaziland), surveyed IDPs were displaced for less than a year by storms, and remained close to their area of origin, often in the same community.
  • In Ethiopia, surveyed IDPs were forced out of the Somali Regional State by violence and received support from the Ethiopian government to settle in the Oromia region.
  • In Kenya, surveyed IDPs in Nakuru County have been displaced for more than a decade, following the post-election violence that occurred in 2007 and 2008.
  • In Somalia, surveyed IDPs left their rural homes because of drought in 2017 or 2018 to move to the capital city of Mogadishu.

Key findings:

  • In Eswatini, the results suggest limited economic impacts of internal displacement, apart from a perception of reduced purchasing power and signs of psychosocial distress for both IDPs and hosts. The financial costs associated with housing were effectively mitigated for the beneficiaries of the National Disaster Management Agency’s support system, which provided them with temporary shelter and aid to rebuild or repair their homes. Most IDPs found refuge within their own community, sharing a house with acquaintances while their homes were repaired. This allowed them to continue their income-generating activities, and use the same healthcare facilities and schools.
  • Apart from a positive impact on perceived security, displacement in Ethiopia has led to a deterioration in livelihoods, housing conditions and health of most IDPs. Displaced children have improved access to school, but numerous barriers to quality education persist. Surveyed hosts do not seem to be greatly affected by the arrival of IDPs, apart from a rise in prices and deterioration in the mental wellbeing of surveyed men.
  • In Kenya, results show poorer conditions for IDPs. Interviews link the deterioration of livelihoods, housing conditions, education and health with displacement. Security appears to be the only area where IDPs are better off than before they were displaced.
  • In Somalia, displacement brought some improvements in access to educational and health facilities and in perceived physical and mental health. It also came with reduced access to work and a lower income for IDPs, although surveyed hosts experienced the opposite. More than a third of surveyed hosts reported reduced access to healthcare and a deterioration in their perceived physical and mental health since the arrival of IDPs. This is likely linked with overcrowding of local health facilities.