This is what new displacements due to violence and disasters in the Americas look like

This is what new displacements due to violence and disasters in the Americas look like

According to the 2020 report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), in 2019 there were 33.4 million new internal displacements in the world, of which 24,855,000 were due to disasters and 8,553,800 due to conflict and violence. This represents the highest figure registered annually since 2012.

In the Americas, disasters and violence caused 2,147,000 new displacements during 2019. Disasters account for 72% of the total (1,545,000) while violence caused 28% (602,000). The proportion is similar to global figures (74.5% and 25.5% respectively).


New displacements due to conflict, violence and disasters in the Americas (2009-2019).


The countries most affected by internal displacement at the continental level were the United States, El Salvador, Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia, although for different reasons:

  • The United States registered 916,000 new displacements, which represents 42.5% of the global total, and 59% of the total continental displacement due to disasters. Hurricane Dorian led to the evacuation of 450,000 people in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia. Widespread fires caused 423,000 new displacements, particularly in California in October.
  • The 455,900 new displacements registered in El Salvador in 2019 are attributed exclusively to violence. This number was extrapolated from calculations by civil society organizations in the country. The adoption of a new law earlier this year could improve this research methodology.
  • In 2019, Brazil was one of the countries affected by the highest number of disasters in the world, registering more than 295,000 events that caused 250,000 new displacements, in particular floods and landslides. There is also initial data on displacement due to gradual phenomena in Brazil, such as drought (6,100 new displacements) and coastal erosion (240), which reveal significant processes related to climate change that could exist in other countries but are not represented due to a lack of data.
  • In Colombia, displacement due to conflict and violence (139,000) in 2019 were more than those related to disasters (35,000). The latter was due to flooding in the departments of Putumayo, Antioquia, Magdalena, Nariño and Chocó. Colombia is a particular case, since there were 5,576,000 displaced people at the end of 2019, it is difficult to find lasting solutions to displacement.
  • The fifth country with the highest number of new displacements in 2019 was Bolivia, with 77,031 cases resulting from flood disasters in Chuquisaca, Cochabamba and La Paz.

Hurricane Dorian caused more than 464,000 new displacements between September and October 2019, distributed among the Caribbean countries, the United States, and Canada. The Bahamas suffered the greatest impact, with $3.4 trillion in estimated damages and a fifth of the country's population affected. The situation of the Haitian community was particularly worrying due to its socioeconomic context and the concentration of this population in informal settlements that were particularly affected.

Priorities for the future include advancing risk prevention and reducing prolonged displacement. To improve skills in both areas, a global partnership is needed to collect, evaluate and compare practices and experiences in a systematic way, and to facilitate peer learning and support.

7 recommendations to promote the inclusion of migrants in host communities through social and cultural activities.

Categoria: Pacto Mundial sobre Migración
Autor: Carlos Escobar

The promotion of social and cultural activities as a mechanism to encourage interaction between migrants and host communities with the aim of advancing in the construction of more just and peaceful societies, is currently a topic of special interest in studies, policies and programs on migrant inclusion and social cohesion.

Taking Intergroup Contact Theory (IGCT) as a reference, different researches argue that the interaction of people from different places and contexts, under the right circumstances, favors trust and the change of xenophobic or discriminatory perceptions. Thus, intergovernmental agreements such as the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration have integrated this perspective into their theoretical and conceptual body. In particular, Goal 16 "Empower migrants and societies to achieve full inclusion and social cohesion", calls for the creation of community centres or programs at the local level to facilitate the participation of migrants in the receiving society by engaging migrants, community members, diaspora organizations, migrant associations and local authorities in intercultural dialogue, exchange of experiences, mentoring programs and the creation of business linkages that enhance integration outcomes and foster mutual respect.

Based on the analysis and review of different research, the IOM, in its publication The Power of Contact: Designing, Facilitating and Evaluating Social Mixing Activities to Strengthen Migrant Integration and Social Cohesion Between Migrants and Local Communities – A Review of Lessons Learned, proposes a series of recommendations, based on empirical evidence, to encourage the participation of migrants and receiving communities in social and cultural activities.

1). Fun and goal-oriented

Designing and incorporating fun and exciting activities leads to a lighter and more welcoming environment for people to meet, interact and create social bonds. At the same time, setting common goals, which neither group can achieve without the participation of the other (cooperative interdependence), makes the activities more engaging and participatory.

2). Mutual appreciation

Participants should understand, recognize and appreciate culture, traditions and history as part of the process of bridging differences, maximizing each other's strengths and identifying commonalities. It is important that all individuals are able to identify how their contributions can have a positive impact on the achievement of common goals.

3). Shared ownership

Involving migrants and local communities in all phases of activities will increase their participation. This ownership empowers them, raises their self-esteem and opens up new opportunities for responsibility and commitment.

4). Guided Reflection

Dialogues and activities that allow for a certain degree of reflection help to create an atmosphere that is perceived as trusting, friendly and warm. Processing information and sharing personal and sensitive stories, which can evoke memories, are of utmost importance as long as they are carefully guided and accompanied by facilitators or project members.

5). Supervision and Trust Facilitation

Those responsible for group interactions, such as team leaders, facilitators, project staff or event planners, must play an active role in promoting equality within intergroup relations and creating an inclusive environment for all. This deliberate effort is crucial to overcome the natural tendency of participants to group themselves according to their most salient characteristics and status.

6). Sustained and regular intervention

It goes without saying that the more frequent, prolonged and intensive the participation, the better the attitude of each individual towards others. This means adopting an approach that rethinks the role of the people involved, who in turn will define the needs of their communities and ultimately take part in the design and organization of appropriate interventions.

7). Institutional support and partnership

The support of institutions such as local governments, media, government agencies and intermediary organizations is critical to promoting and facilitating constructive efforts to strengthen intergroup relations. The coordination of these institutions creates a system that can provide resources and incentives to promote and strengthen intergroup relations.

Social and cultural activities, understood as a programmatic intervention strategy to facilitate the inclusion of migrants in receiving communities, are important to the extent that they offer non-institutional spaces for interaction, where through spontaneous human contact, social ties are built based on experiences, stories, emotions and life trajectories of the participants. This facilitates the generation of trust between individuals, greater degrees of social cohesion and, of course, peaceful coexistence in communities, understood not only as the absence of conflict, but also as a positive, dynamic and participatory process in which dialogue is promoted and conflicts are resolved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation, through the acceptance of differences, the ability to listen, recognize, respect and appreciate others. (UN, 2021).