The war in Ukraine helped push the global total of people left internally displaced by conflict or natural disasters to a record high of 71.1 million last year, according to a report released Thursday by the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.
By the end of 2022, 5.9 million people had been forced to move inside Ukraine because of Russia’s invasion, bringing the global total of people internally displaced by conflict and violence to more than 62 million, an increase of 17% since 2021. Syria had 6.8 million displaced by conflict after more than a decade of civil war.
The number of people displaced inside their country at the end of the year because of disasters like floods and famine reached 8.7 million, up by 45% from 2021.
The total of 71.1 million internally displaced worldwide was a 20% increase since 2021.
Internal displacement refers to people forced to move inside their own borders and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s report didn’t take into account those who left for different countries.
Following a year when conflict raged in Ukraine, Syria, Ethiopia, and elsewhere, there has been no respite in 2023. The United Nations migration agency said this week that 700,000 people have already been internally displaced in a matter of weeks by the conflict in Sudan between the army and a rival paramilitary group.
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre cited the La Nina weather phenomenon, which continued for a third consecutive year in 2022, as a major factor in disaster displacements. It contributed to record levels of flood displacement in Pakistan, Nigeria, and Brazil and to the worst drought on record in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, the report said.
There was a “perfect storm” of conflict and natural disasters in 2022, leading to “displacement on a scale never seen before,” said Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council.