Conflict and natural disasters internally displaced over 30 million in 2017

Conflict and natural disasters internally displaced over 30 million in 2017

The International Displacement Monitoring Centre and Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) have reported that over 30 million people were internally displaced in 2017. This is the equivalent to 80,000 each day.

Natural disasters caused around 60% of internal displacement affecting 18.8 million people in 135 countries. The worst hit countries were China, the Philippines, Cub and the USA; in these countries flooding and storms were the main cause of displacement.

Flooding caused the displacement of 8.6 million and storms displaced 7.5 million. Internal displacement associated with natural disasters was most prevalent in East Asia, South Asia and the Americas.

Conflict was also responsible for significant displacement, uprooting approximately 11.8 million people. Alarmingly, this figure has almost double since 2016 where 6.9 million were displaced internally by conflict.

Internal displacement due to conflict predominately occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East; Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq accounted for half of all internal displacement due to conflict. However, there was also a significant increase in South and East Asia.

Jan Egeland, NRC’s secretary general, commented:

“The staggering number of people forced to flee from their homes due to conflict and violence must serve as an eye opener to us all…We are getting better at providing emergency aid, but we need to put a lot more effort into preventing displacement, protecting people, and finding long-term solutions.”

By the end of 2017 a total of 40 million people had been internally displaced as a result of conflict, 67% of these were in just 10 countries.

Alexandra Bilak, director of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, added:

“Internal displacement often heralds the start of broader crises. While we have seen some useful policy progress since the adoption of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement 20 years ago, it is nowhere near enough to cope with, much less reduce, the scale of the problem”

“Without renewed action, we risk failing millions of internally displaced people worldwide, and holding back the development of the countries which host them. It’s time for an honest conversation on the most effective ways to turn the tide on this global crisis. This conversation must be led by affected countries and receive full support from the international community”


Join us for the 4th Annual AIDF Asia Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, on 20-21 June 2018 where natural disasters and displacement will be key discussion points.

Our AIDF Global Summit returns for its 10th year on 5-6 September in Washington D.C, USA. The summit will cover key topics on global development such as displacement.


Image credit: Norwegian Refugee Council

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