Record Levels of Internal Displaced People in 2019…And We Are Barely Past the Halfway Mark

A new report from the Internal Displaced Monitoring Centre provides a glimpse of both the good news and bad news regarding people who have been displaced and lost their homes in 2019. Internal displacement means a person has lost their home due to war, violence, or natural disasters but they remain within their country’s borders so they are not considered a refugee.

internal displaced people

Important numbers from the report on internal displaced people

  • 8 million displaced worldwide between January and June of this year
  • 7 million of these came about by violence
  • 8 million came about by natural disasters
  • Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, and Yemen remain at the top of the list of nations holding displaced people
  • In Yemen, the number of displaced people nearly doubled from the same time last year
Graphic from the 2019 mid year report on internal displaced people

In Africa growing regional violence means the continent has been hit particularly hard this year. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, and Mali have seen massive amounts of internal displaced people in 2019.

Weather-related events were the cause of internal displaced people by way of natural events. Even before Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas 2019 was already on track to be the most disastrous year in two decades.

  • March and April half a million Iranians were forced to leave their homes and retreat to camps as flooding hit the country
  • Massive rains and landslides led to 70,000 Bolivians fleeing their homes in the first four months of the year
  • In March Cyclone Idai resulted in more than 1,000 deaths and 617,000 internal displaced people in Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar
  • Flash floods and landslides in the Philippines in the early months of the year led to 405,000 internal displaced people

internal displaced people

On the positive side, many nations are establishing more proactive responses to natural disasters. In May 3.4 million people were evacuated from their homes in India and Bangladesh as Cyclone Fanai ripped through the Bay of Bengal. These evacuations would have been massive death counts in earlier years when the government was less prepared to act.

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JB Shreve is the author of "How the World Ends: Understanding the Growing Chaos." He has been the host of the End of History podcast since 2012. He has degrees in International Relations and Middle East Studies. His other books include the Intelligence Brief Series. Regular posts and updates from JB Shreve are available at