Middle East and North Africa: Displacement Snapshot (October 2018) [EN/AR]

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 18 Nov 2018


An estimated 1.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Libya. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country are suffering from the prolonged conflict. They are living in unsafe conditions with little or no access to health care, essential medicines, food, safe drinking water, shelter or education.

The country has a complex displacement scenario, with 192,000 people displaced inside the country (IDPs) and 370,000 people who have returned home (returnees). Libya also hosts around 50,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers. Refugees are travelling alongside migrants through dangerous routes towards Europe. Up to 90 per cent of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe depart from Libya. New displacements continue to take place, with the most recent following the clashes in Tripoli in August; 1,900 internally displaced persons from the Triq Al Matar settlement in Tripoli were forcibly evicted by militias. Triq Al Matar was the largest IDP settlement in Tripoli, hosting 370 families originally from the city of Tawergha who had been living in the settlement since it was established in 2011.

occupied Palestinian territory

Thousands of Palestinians throughout the occupied Palestinian territory have been forcibly displaced or are at risk of forced displacement. In the West Bank, displacement is primarily driven by occupation-related policies and practices that generate a coercive environment placing people at risk of forcible transfer. The demolition and seizure of homes and livelihood structures on grounds of lack of building permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain, is a key component of the coercive environment.

In recent months, the Israeli authorities have passed or advanced new legislation that significantly limits the ability of individuals and human rights organizations to challenge the demolition or seizure of Palestinian properties in Area C and East Jerusalem. Currently, over 13,000 demolition orders are pending against Palestinian structures in Area C, according to an Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) database. In East Jerusalem, it is estimated that around 100,000 people reside in unlicensed buildings.

In the Gaza Strip, displacement has primarily been caused by damage or destruction to homes during hostilities or military operations. Over 16,500 people displaced during the 2014 hostilities are still unable to rebuild or repair their homes, primarily due to the lack of funding, affected by the slow disbursement of pledges made by member states for reconstruction.


The displacement crisis in Syria continues to defined by a combination of high rates of localized displacement in areas witnessing military operations and hostilities, as well as increasingly protracted displacement.

Overall monthly displacement rates remain high and broadly similar to 2017, with some 1.36 million population movements recorded between January and August 2018, at an average of 5,598 movements per day. At the same time, there are some 11.8 million people living in a situation of protracted displacement, comprising refugees and long-term IDPs. Over the last year, the number of long-term IDPs has marginally increased from 6.1 to 6.2 million people, while there are also some 5.6 million Syrians registered as refugees, the majority of whom are hosted in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

Overall, in the absence of more durable solutions in some areas, displacement is becoming increasingly protracted, indicating a continued reliance on humanitarian assistance and services and straining their ability, as well as that of host communities, to cope.

The convergence of multiple crises in Syria during the first half of 2018 contributed to significant levels of displacement, with over 920,000 population movements recorded in the first four months alone. While the rate of displacement remains comparable to 2017 levels, the geographic focus of new displacements has shifted as the situation on the ground evolves. In view of a possible escalation of hostilities in northwest Syria, specifically Idleb Governorate, humanitarian actors are concerned that as many as 700,000 people could be displaced. Many of these people have already been displaced multiple times and are particularly vulnerable given sustained exposure to hostilities and limited absorption capacity in areas of displacement.


Although four million people have returned home since the end of the conflict, the rate of return has decreased significantly. Over half of the 1.9 million IDPs have been displaced for more than three years. Surveys indicate that a majority currently intend to stay in their areas of displacement over the next 12 months, due to several destroyed or disputed housing; an absence of jobs and services; community tensions; and security concerns. To accommodate this population of longer-term displaced, the humanitarian community is working towards an improved understanding of the population movement flows. In September, IOM published the findings from its first Return Index, a tool developed to measure the severity of the conditions in 1,400 plus return locations across Iraq. The Return Index ensures data is available on returnee population figures and indicators, such as livelihoods, basic services, social cohesion and safety perceptions at location of return, and can help form a basis for durable solutions beyond return, including integration or resettlement elsewhere in the country.


Four years into of escalated conflict, the extent of displacement in Yemen continues to increase. The number of internally displaced Persons (IDPs) has reached 2,014,026 as of September 2018, of which 956,076 are returnees. Around half of the IDPs have been displaced within their governorate of origin, and around 89 per cent have been displaced for at least one year. Most IDPs continue to be housed in private settings, which places considerable burdens on hosting families and the wider community. Despite the ongoing conflict Yemen, the country continues to be a transit route for people from the Horn of Africa, mainly Somalia and Ethiopia, trying to reach the Gulf countries and beyond with the hope of finding better economic opportunities or protection. As of September 2018, the total population of asylum-seekers and refugees in Yemen was 280,279, the majority of whom were from Somalia and Ethiopia.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
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