The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) says conflicts and disasters forced 55 million people to flee other regions within their own country in 2020.
The Geneva-based IDMC reported on Thursday that in 2019, 45.7 million were on the run from war and natural disasters in their own country.
In 2020, conflict and disasters triggered 40.5 million new internal displacements across 149 countries and territories, a figure which included people forced to move more than once.
“It’s shocking that someone was forced to flee their home inside their own country every single second in 2020, “said the secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland.
“It is particularly concerning that these high figures were recorded against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic when movement restrictions obstructed data collection and fewer people sought out emergency shelters for fear of infection,’’ IDMC director Alexandra Bilak added.
The IDMC said escalating violence in Mozambique and Burkina Faso, as well as ongoing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and the Congo, had led to massive new refugee movements, while natural disasters also led to displacements.
These included Cyclone Amphan in Asia and other heavy storms in Central America and the Caribbean, while in Africa and the Middle East, millions left their homes because of flooding.