World

76M people were displaced in 2023, migration tracking group says

  • Conflicts and natural disasters reportedly caused nearly 76 million people to be displaced within their countries in the last year.
  • Violence in Sudan, Congo and the Middle East drove two-thirds of the new movement.
  • The number of internally displaced people has increased by 50% over the past five years and doubled in the past decade.

Conflicts and natural disasters left a record nearly 76 million people displaced within their countries last year, with violence in Sudan, Congo and the Middle East driving two-thirds of new movement, a top migration monitoring group said Tuesday.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center report found that the number of internally displaced people, or IDPs, has jumped by 50% over the past five years and roughly doubled in the past decade. It doesn’t cover refugees ā€” displaced people who fled to another country.

The report tracks two major sets of information. It counted 46.9 million physical movements of people in 2023 ā€” sometimes more than once. In most of those cases, such as after natural disasters like floods, people eventually return home.

AT LEAST 250,000 DISPLACED AS CONFLICTS RAGE ON IN THE CONGO

It also compiles the cumulative number of people who were living away from their homes in 2023, including those still displaced from previous years. Some 75.9 million people were living in internal displacement at the end of last year, the report said, with half of those in sub-Saharan African countries.

Sudan

A shelter is seen in Renk, South Sudan on May 17, 2023. A top migration monitoring group says conflicts and natural disasters have led nearly 76 million people to be displaced within their countries in 2023, a new record, with violence in Sudan, Congo and the Middle East together driving two-thirds of the new movement. (AP Photo/Sam Mednick, File)

Almost 90% of the total displacement was attributed to conflict and violence, while some 10% stemmed from the impact of natural disasters.

The displacement of more than 9 million people in Sudan at the end of 2023 was a record for a single country since the center started tracking such figures 16 years ago.

That was an increase of nearly 6 million from the end of 2022. Sudanā€™s conflict erupted in April 2023 as soaring tensions between the leaders of the military and the rival Rapid Support Forces broke out into open fighting across the country.

The group reported a total of 3.4 million movements within Gaza in the last quarter of 2023 amid the Israeli military response to the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel. That means that many people moved more than once within the territory of some 2.2 million. At the end of the year, 1.7 million people were displaced in Gaza.

Group director Alexandra Bilak said the millions of people forced to flee in 2023 were the “tip of the iceberg,” on top of tens of millions displaced from earlier and continuing conflicts, violence and disasters.

The figures offer a different window into the impact of conflict, climate change and other factors on human movement. The U.N. refugee agency monitors displacement across borders but not within countries, while the U.N. migration agency tracks all movements of people, including for economic or lifestyle reasons.

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