On May 2019, the Internal Displacement Observatory (IDMC) published its global report on internal displacement due to conflicts and disasters. The report details new occurrences and confirms the persistence of political instability, chronic poverty and inequality, environmental and climate change as drivers of cyclical and protracted displacement.
In global terms, the IDMC estimated the total number of new displacements in 2018 to be 28 million people, out of which 10.8 million relocated due to conflicts and 17.2 million due to disasters. Displacement in the Americas represents 7.5% of the global total of 2,091,000 people (the greatest number of internally displaced persons in history) with a clear prevalence of mobilization associated with disasters (1,687,000 people), instead of conflicts (404,000 people).
Graph: New displacements due to disasters during the last years in the Americas (Only the ten countries with the greatest number of new displacements between 2008 and 2018 appear in the chart. Other countries not on the list may have a greater number of new displacements in a given year. Full data is available at: www.internal-displacement.org/database/displacement-data).
The countries most affected by disasters in the continent were the United States (1,247,000 new displaced persons), El Salvador (250,700) and Colombia (212,000). In the United States, the profound impact of the wildfires that devastated California in the second half of the year and the effect of hurricanes Florencia and Michael in Florida during August and October are worth noting. On the other hand, displacement in El Salvador is mainly caused by conflicts, while Colombia suffered the impact of disasters (67,000 displaced persons) and conflicts (145,000) simultaneously.
It is also important to highlight that according to IDMC, displacement due to conflict in the Americas was concentrated in three countries: El Salvador, Colombia and Mexico, while displacement by disasters was much broader geographically, affecting 28 countries in the continent.
It is expected that most of the future displacements associated with disasters will occur in urban sectors, where poverty, inequality and corruption are relevant factors when measuring the risk of human mobilization. The solutions to prevent and address these situations require a multidisciplinary approach that combines adaptation to the effects of climate change, disaster risk reduction and the development of community resilience.
The IDMC report details the sources used to measure the new displacement situations in each country, including IOM's displacement control matrix (DTM), and calls for the development of recollection systems and data treatment that will be given for a better follow-up of the internal displacement scenarios.