More than 65 million people who are currently forcibly displaced due to conflict or violence, at least 40 million of whom remains in their countries of origin. Many of them are the poorest and most vulnerable in their communities – including women, children, elderly and disabled people – and yet, so often, they receive none of the support and protection to which refugees are entitled. Displaced on average for 15 years, often repeatedly, most exist without access to basic services such as health and education, and are often subjected to abuse and torture.
Climate change is a massive factor. Since 2009, it is estimated that one person has been displaced every second by weather disasters: an average of 26 million people every year. This trend is likely to intensify in the immediate future as rural areas struggle to cope with warmer weather and more erratic rainfall, not to mention extreme weather-related disasters. East Africa accounts for five of the most significant disaster events between January and June, with flooding in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda, and drought in Somalia displacing more than a million people in total. 3.3 million displacements associated with disasters were recorded in 110 countries and territories. In May and June, monsoon flooding in India caused the most significant displacement, affecting over 370,000 people. Unprecedented flooding continued in July and August, with government reports indicating that over 1.4 million were displaced to relief camps in Kerala alone.
The latest figures from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) show that millions of individuals have become displaced inside their own country since January. There were 5.2 million new internal displacements associated with conflict and violence in the first half of 2018. In Ethiopia, 1.4 million new internal displacements have already been recorded. Somalia and South Sudan are also among the 10 worst affected countries for new displacement linked to conflict and violence. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has the highest number of new displacements related to conflict, there are currently more than two million people internally displaced. More than 80 per cent of aid for those who are displaced is directed into camps, but 73 per cent of internally displaced people live outside them, meaning they miss out on the help they need.
Despite these urgent disasters, the global compacts on refugees and migration, to be signed this year, regrettably provide scant attention to these people.