A record 59.1 million people were displaced within their homelands last year, or four million more than in 2020, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Thursday, citing the latest Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID).
IOM has welcomed the report, produced by its partner the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), calling it a valuable tool for the organization, humanitarians, and governments, in supporting communities affected by disasters and other crises.
"Understanding, managing, and adapting to human mobility trends is crucial to ensure humanitarian assistance and essential services are reaching people where they are most needed," the UN agency said.
Running from disasters
For the past 15 years, most internal displacement was triggered by disasters, with annual numbers slightly higher than those related to conflict and violence.
Last year was no exception, according to the report. Weather-related events such as floods, storms and cyclones resulted in some 23.7 million internal displacements in 2021, mainly in the Asia-Pacific region.
IOM warned that with the expected impacts of climate change, and without ambitious climate action, numbers are likely to increase in the coming years.
Conflict and violence
Meanwhile, conflict and violence triggered 14.4 million internal displacements in 2021, a nearly 50 per cent increase over the previous year.
The majority took place in Africa, particularly Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while Afghanistan and Myanmar saw unprecedented numbers of displacement.
Young lives affected
The report also includes a special focus on children and youth, who account for more than 40 per cent of the total number of those internally displaced last year.
It looks at the impacts of displacement on their well-being now and in the future, and fills data and knowledge gaps that are critical to finding durable solutions.
IOM added that gaps remain in understanding and addressing internal displacement in conflict.
Driven by data
The agency has partnered with the IDMC - which is part of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) - to provide reliable and accurate data through its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), the world's largest source of primary data on internal displacement.
The two organizations signed an agreement four years ago to join forces on improving data and to accelerate policymaking and action.
IOM has also co-chaired the International Data Alliance for Children on the Move (IDAC) since 2020.
The coalition brings together governments, international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), think tanks, academics, and civil society, to improve statistics and data on migrant and forcibly displaced children.