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Africa: War, Climate Saw Tens of Millions Internally Displaced in 2020

A key group that monitors internal displacement reported on Thursday that violence and disasters — often caused or worsened by the impact of climate change — forced people to relocate within their countries more than 40 million times last year, the highest such tally in over a decade.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC,) in its latest annual global report, says a record 55 million people were living away from their homes but within their countries at the end of last year, as storms and floods, as well as both protracted and new conflicts, drove up the figures that have been growing for more than a decade. Sometimes people have moved two or three times.

The Geneva-based center, which is part of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC,) said the number of internally displaced was more than twice that of refugees — those who flee to another country — at the end of last year. The group cautioned that the figures were likely a “significant underestimate” because Covid-19 travel restrictions impeded the collection of data.

Pleased to contribute to the excellent #GRID2021 from @IDMC_Geneva 2020 saw intense storms and persistent conflict. 40.5 million new displacements were triggered by disasters and violence, a ten-year high. This is a key issue for national #DRR strategieshttps://t.co/soQokxUobm pic.twitter.com/pVf3QAUZ0X

“It’s shocking that someone was forced to flee their home inside their own country every single second last year,” said NRC secretary-general Jan Egeland. “We are failing to protect the world’s most vulnerable people from conflict and disasters.”