Violence and conflict across Africa displaced 2.4 million people in 2015, according to a report released by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC). The report estimates even larger numbers of internally displaced people in 2016.
Last year’s figures brought the total number of people living in displacement camps to 12.4 million. Africa’s internally displaced population is more than double the number of refugees, or people who flee their home countries, which the UN estimates as 5.4 million people.
“Each of these numbers represents a personal tragedy and presents a challenge for local, national, and international responders,” the report said.
Nigeria accounted for more than 30 percent of the figures. As many as 736,000 people fled their homes in 2015, the majority because of Boko Haram’s insurgency. The Islamic extremist group staged multiple attacks in northeastern Nigeria and other neighboring countries.
The Democratic Republic of Congo came in second with more than 621,000 displaced people in 2015, and the displacement persists. By the first nine months of 2016, the United Nations said 517,000 people fled insecurity in Congo. Sudan, South Sudan, and Congo ranked among the top ten countries with the highest levels of internal displacement globally within the first half of this year.
Besides ongoing conflicts, natural disasters also displaced another 1.1 million people from 33 African countries. IDMC said the actual figures could be higher.
“It still underestimates the full scale of Africa’s internal displacement crisis,” IDMC director Alexandra Bilak said in a statement.
In many conflict zones, officials fail to regularly update information on how many people move out of or fall into displacement, the report said. There’s also hardly any information on displacement resulting from development projects or drought. These shortcomings leave governments and aid agencies unable to respond sufficiently and prevent similar incidents in the future, the report explained.
“If we expand our evidence base and use it as the foundation for coordinated action at the national, regional, and continental level, together we can ensure fewer people face the trauma and upheaval of displacement year on year,” Maya Sahli Fadel, the special rapporteur on refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and internally displaced persons for the African Union, said in a statement.
Courtesy: WORLD News Service
Publication date: December 9, 2016