Quarterly Update July - September 2017
This Quarterly Update covers the activities of the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) between 1 July and 30 September 2017. It is also available online here: www. internal-displacement.org.
More than nine million new displacements in the first half of 2017
Our mid-year figures, published in August, show that conflict, violence and disasters caused 9.1 million new internal displacements globally in the first half of 2017.
Conflict led to 4.6 million new displacements, already twothirds of last year’s total. The countries with the highest figures are the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with 997,000; Iraq 922,000; Syria 692,000; the Philippines 466,000; Ethiopia 213,000; Central African Republic (CAR) 206,000; South Sudan 163,000; the Gambia 162,000; Afghanistan 159,000; Nigeria 142,000; Yemen 112,000 and Somalia 70,000.
There are currently around 3.7 million people displaced by conflict in DRC, an increase of around two million on June 2016 as the security situation continued to deteriorate. The violence has spread to new areas, and eight of the country’s 26 provinces are now affected. DRC’s figures remain the highest in Africa.
The 922,000 new displacements in Iraq were mainly the result of a series of offensives on Mosul. Extensive damage to the city means that those displaced are unlikely to be able to return in the near future. In Kirkuk governorate, which until recently was controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), clashes in the Hawiia district resulted in around 37,000 displacements. In Syria, fighting between government and non-state forces intensified in several governorates, including the offensive on Raqqa city, triggering 692,000 new displacements.
In the Philippines, 466,000 new displacements associated with ongoing tensions and armed conflict on Mindanao island were reported, mainly in and around Marawi city. More than 350,000 people are estimated to be displaced in the city and surrounding region.
Besides DRC, there are deepening concerns about other African countries. Unrest is on the rise in Ethiopia, where armed groups have stepped up their efforts to bring down the government.
There were 213,000 new displacements in the first half of 2017, bringing the overall number of people internally displaced by conflict in the country to more than 588,000. Clashes between various armed groups have also escalated in CAR since September 2016, leading to 209,000 new displacements.
There was also significant displacement associated with disasters in the first half of the year. More than 350 disaster events had been recorded by the end of June 2017, already more than half of the total for 2016, though the 4.5 million new displacements reported represent only a fifth of the total for the previous year.
The figures remain concerning, however, because sudden-onset seasonal storms and floods in south and south-east Asia and the hurricane season in the Americas were still to come as of the end of June. As such, the number of new displacements can be expected to rise exponentially, as has happened in previous years.
Floods in the southern provinces of China triggered 858,000 new displacements in June, and tropical cyclone Mora caused 851,000 in Bangladesh, India and Myanmar in May and June. In the Philippines, flooding in Visayas and Mindanao triggered 381,000 between January and March; the rainy season in Peru 293,000 between January and June; tropical cyclone Enawo in Madagascar 246,000 in March and the Oroville Dam flood in the US 188,000 in February. Further flooding in the Philippines in May, this time in Maguindanao, triggered 182,000 new displacements; tropical cyclone Dineo 174,000 in Mozambique and Botswana in February, typhoon Merbok - known locally as Bai Miao – 117,000 in China in June and monsoon floods 104,000 in Sri Lanka between May to June.
The two largest events serve as stark reminders of the fact that the concentration of populations on exposed flood plains and coastlines combined with high levels of vulnerability repeatedly drive major new displacements when hazards strike. This will continue to be the case and ever more so as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of weather events.
The fact that large numbers of people continue to be displaced by expected seasonal weather patterns, as with the floods in the Philippines, Peru and Sri Lanka, also clearly illustrates that such countries are not investing enough in reducing vulnerability and exposure. Preparedness, early warning and evacuation systems have improved over the years, but the overall risk of people being forced from their homes remains high.