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Faith Nyasuguta

Conflicts and violence have propelled the number of internally displaced people worldwide to a historic high of 75.9 million, with almost half of them residing in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a recent report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC).

The report reveals that conflicts in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Palestinian territories contributed to nearly two-thirds of new displacements due to violence, spanning across 66 countries in 2023.

IDMC Director, Alexandra Bilak, expressed concern over the escalating trend of displacement, stating, “Over the past two years, we have witnessed alarming levels of people forced to flee their homes due to conflict and violence, even in regions where improvement was previously observed.” 

She emphasized that the millions of individuals displaced in 2023 represent only a fraction of the total affected population, dubbing it as the “tip of the iceberg.”

Christelle Cazabat, head of programs at IDMC, highlighted the significance of internal displacement, noting that while refugees and asylum-seekers who cross borders garner significant attention, the majority of displaced individuals remain within their own countries.


The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported that by the end of 2022, there were 62.5 million internally displaced people compared to 36.4 million refugees worldwide.

The surge in internal displacements in 2023 was primarily attributed to conflicts in Ukraine, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan. The latter experienced a staggering 6 million internal displacements, marking a significant escalation compared to previous years.

Vicente Anzellini, IDMC’s global and regional analysis manager, highlighted the unprecedented scale of displacement in Sudan, with 9.1 million individuals internally displaced due to ongoing conflicts.

The report also shed light on the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, where 3.4 million displacements occurred in the last quarter of 2023. This spike followed a series of violent incidents between Hamas and Israel, resulting in extensive displacement within the Palestinian enclave.

Cazabat emphasized the need for increased awareness of underreported crises, such as the situation in Sudan, where millions remain internally displaced due to conflict.

In addition to conflict-induced displacements, natural disasters accounted for 7.7 million displacements globally in 2023. Floods, storms, earthquakes, and wildfires were cited as leading causes of disaster-induced displacement.

The IDMC highlighted the vulnerability of countries prone to both conflict and natural disasters, with many experiencing overlapping displacement crises. Anzellini cited examples from Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where populations are forced to flee violence only to confront the threat of natural disasters.

Anzellini emphasized that climate change exacerbates the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, contributing to increased displacement globally. However, he stressed that governments have the capacity to mitigate displacement impacts through proactive measures such as early warning systems and evacuation protocols.


The report concluded that concerted efforts are needed to address the multifaceted drivers of displacement, including conflict, violence, and natural disasters. Collaboration between governments, humanitarian organizations, and international bodies is essential to provide assistance and protection to displaced populations worldwide.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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