Development environment

Internal Displacement Update
Issue 12: 23 February - 8 March 2017

Issue 12 map
Feature

Iraq

Affected areas

Mosul district, Salahuddin governorate

Cause of displacement

Conflict

Figures

About 43,000 new displacements between January and 5 March

Context

About 42,000 people were displaced from Mosul between 27 February and 5 March. This is the highest continuous displacement since 17 October when the government began an offensive to take control of eastern Mosul from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). More than 13,000 people were displaced on 3 March alone. Most displacements between 27 February and 5 March were due to military operations in western Mosul, which were initiated on 19 February (OCHA, 5 March 2017). The displacement came as the battle for Mosul entered more densely populated areas, including the Kuwait, Ma’mun, Tayaran and Wadi Hajar neighbourhoods, and Abu Saif village (OCHA, 28 February 2017).

The most recently displaced people said food shortages and intense fighting forced them to join more than 195,000 Iraqis in 21 camps built by UN agencies and the government around Mosul. “The newest arrivals are in a desperate condition, visibly traumatized, hungry and dehydrated. Many arrived without shoes and wearing soaking clothes, having walked long distances to reach safety at government checkpoints” (UNHCR, 7 March 2017).

Up to 750,000 people in western Mosul city remained largely inaccessible to humanitarians, sheltering from the fighting or waiting for a better time to flee. They risked being caught in the crossfire, and suffered shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel (OCHA, 2 March 2017IOM, 28 February 2017).

Of the 256,000 people displaced from Mosul between 17 October and 2 March about 192,000 remained displaced as of 2 March, the highest number of IDPs since the crisis began. The remaining 64,000 people returned to their areas of origin (OCHA, 2 March 2017).

About 125 families (more than 800 people) were displaced in Salahuddin governorate between January and 5 March by forces backed by the Iraqi government because they were thought to have ties to ISIL. The displaced people were held against their will in a camp near Tikrit. Some of their homes were destroyed. Hundreds of other families were displaced after an August 2016 decree that ordered the expulsion of relatives of ISIL members and said anyone affiliated with ISIL had no right to return to the governorate. Families from Babil and Anbar governorates faced similar difficulties when returning (Human Rights Watch, 5 March 2017).

East Asia and Pacific

Myanmar

Affected areas

Rakhine

Cause of displacement

Conflict

Figures

As many as 1,300 returns in the last week of February

Context

About 280 families (as many as 1,300 people) were allowed to return to their villages in northern Rakhine in the last week of February. They had been displaced after armed attacks on Myanmar border guard police posts on 9 October and subsequent security operations (OCHA, 27 February 2017; OCHA, 5 March 2017). Security operations officially ended in mid-February, but fear of violence and restrictions on movement and activities remained, making displaced people reluctant to return (VOA, 22 February 2017).

Philippines

Affected areas

Mindanao and Visayas

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Flood, Earthquake), Conflict

Figures

About 75,000 people still displaced by disaster as of 2 March; about 6,000 new conflict displacements in January

Context

More than 67,000 people remained displaced in Davao and Caraga as of 2 March because of heavy rain and flooding in Mindanao and Visayas between January and March (DSWD, 2 March 2017). At the height of the floods, about 387,000 people were displaced (UNHCR, 15 February 2017).

More than 7,800 people who were displaced following a shallow 6.7 magnitude earthquake on 10 February remained displaced as of 2 March. Most damage to houses occurred in Surigao city and the neighbouring town of San Francisco (UNOCHA, 2 March 2017).

About 6,000 people were displaced in January by renewed conflict between the Philippines military and Maute, a non-state armed group. People in Butig municipality of Lanao del Sur province fled air bombardment and ground shelling by the military (UNOCHA, 2 March 2017).

Latin America and the Caribbean

Colombia

Affected areas

Cauca, Chocó, Huila and Nariño departments

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Flood), Conflict

Figures

About 2,000 new disaster displacements between 21 and 23 February; as many as 700 new conflict displacements between 21 February and 8 March

Context

About 2,000 people were evacuated between 21 and 23 February after flooding in Rivera in Huila department. The disaster destroyed more than 100 homes. Heavy rain fell during what would normally be considered the dry season (Floodlist, February 2017).

More than 500 people were displaced within Chocó department between 28 February and 8 March. More than 100 people were displaced from Chocó to Villa del Cauca between 21 February and 1 March (OCHA, 8 March 2017). More than 60 people were displaced within Nariño department between 24 and 27 February. The displacements were caused by conflict between the National Liberation Army (Ejército Nacional de Liberación or ELN) and Gaitanista Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia or AGC) (OCHA, 27 February 2017). 

African-Colombian and indigenous communities along the Pacific coast are most at risk of displacement by conflict. “The UN’s refugee agency voiced its concern over continued displacements across Colombia despite ongoing progress in the country’s peace process with Marxist FARC rebels … The UN has long called for the Colombian government to quickly secure territory left behind by the FARC to prevent criminal organizations and paramilitary groups [from taking over] the guerrilla army’s former territory. In response, the UNHCR has made a ‘special call to attention to protect civil society in this context and to ensure that the conditions of security … and dignity are assured’” (Colombia Reports, 8 March 2017).

Haiti

Affected areas

Grand’Anse, Sud and Nippes

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Hurricane)

Figures

More than 7,000 people displaced as of 10 February

Context

More than 7,000 people remained in collective centres as of 10 February in Grand’Anse, Sud and Nippes, the three regions worst affected by Hurricane Matthew, which made landfall on 4 October. Of the 47 collective centres, 27 were schools. Since mid-January, when schools resumed, displaced families use the schools only as a place to sleep. The homes of almost everyone in centres was destroyed or severely damaged. These people were also more likely to be women, children, older people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual violence or people who were otherwise vulnerable, highlighting the difficulties they faced in returning home (OCHA, 4 March 2017).

Middle East and North Africa

Syria

Affected areas

Aleppo governorate

Cause of displacement

Conflict

Figures

At least 69,000 new displacements between 1 and 28 February; as many as 73 IDPs killed on 24 February

Context

At least 69,000 people were displaced within Aleppo governorate between 1 and 28 February by conflict. People were displaced from Bab, Khafsa, Ra'ee, A'rima, A'zaz, Dayr Hafir, Maskana, Menbij, Rasm Haram El-Imam and Tadef sub-districts in Aleppo governorate (CCCM, 3 March 2017). Bab was particularly affected. Fighting to take the city ended on 23 February, but more than 26,000 people were displaced on 25 February when hostilities to the east of the city intensified (OCHA, 5 March 2017). About 2,000 people fled north from Tadef town after hostilities erupted between government forces and ISIL on 24 February (OCHA, 5 March 2017).

As many as 73 IDPs were killed on 24 February, when a car bomb exploded in Sosyan village north of Bab city, as people were trying to return to Bab (OCHA, 5 March 2017).

Yemen

Affected areas

Taiz governorate

Cause of displacement

Conflict

Figures

About 44,000 new displacements between 7 January and 27 February

Context

About 44,000 people were displaced in Taiz governorate between 7 January and 27 February, including 25,000 people who fled Dhubab and Mokha districts. The displacement came as coalition and government forces tried to consolidate their positions around Mokha. Air strikes continued, causing civilian casualties (ECHO, 27 February 2017). The displacements followed a major offensive by forces supporting President Abedrabbo Masnour Hadi which began on 7 January to recapture the coastline overlooking the strategic Bab Al-Mandab strait (Arab News, 9 February 2017).

North America

US

Affected areas

Kansas

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Wildfire)

Figures

Between 10,000 and 12,000 new displacements between 4 and 8 March

Context

Between 10,000 and 12,000 people evacuated their homes in Reno county in the state of Kansas between 4 and 8 March because of wildfires. An evacuation order was issued (KSNT, 7 March 2017). Multiple fires in the state burned more than 240,000 hectares in Kansas in the first week of March (Wichita Eagle, 8 March 2017).

South Asia

Afghanistan

Affected areas

Badghis, Farah, Faryab, Herat, Kunar and Nimrod provinces

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Floods) and Conflict

Figures

About 5,400 new and secondary disaster displacements between mid-February and 1 March; about 5,400 new conflict displacements between 26 February and 4 March; about 2,400 returns from Iran and Pakistan between 26 February and 4 March

Context

About 3,000 people were displaced by floods after continuous heavy rain in Chakhansur and Khashrod districts in Nimrod province between mid-February and 1 March. Several houses were destroyed or swept away. Many of the people affected were already internally displaced or returnees from Iran (ACAPS, 2 March 2017).

An additional 322 families (about 2,400 people) were displaced by floods in Herat as of 1 March (Norwegian Refugee Council, 1 March 2017).

About 5,400 people fled fighting in Farah, Faryab, Kunar, Herat and Badghis provinces between 26 February and 4 March. This brings to about 23,000 the total number of conflict-related displacements across 20 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces in 2017. People fled shelling near the border with Pakistan, government clearance operations or conflict between non-state armed groups and government forces (OCHA, 4 March 2017).  

About 2,400 undocumented Afghans returned from Iran and Pakistan between 26 February and 4 March. Compared to the previous week, this was a decrease of 89 per cent in the number of returnees from Pakistan and a decrease of six per cent in returnees from Iran (IOM, 4 March 2017).

Pakistan shut the Torkham and Spin Boldak border crossings on 17 February, one day after an attack at Lal Shahbaz Qalander Sufi shrine in Sehwan in Pakistan that killed 88 people. Pakistan says Daesh (ISIL), which claimed responsibility for the attack, has sanctuaries in Afghanistan (The Star, 18 February 2017).The Islam Qala border with Iran was closed on 6 February because of flooding (IOM, 4 March 2017).

About 47,000 undocumented Afghans returned from Iran between 1 January and 4 March, and 9,600 from Pakistan (IOM, 4 March 2017).

Nepal

Affected areas

14 districts

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Earthquake)

Figures

About two million people remain displaced as of March 2017

Context

About two million people were still living in temporary accommodation across 14 districts as of 1 March, nearly two years after the first of a series of devastating earthquakes in Nepal. Among the worst affected are older women who, even before the disaster, faced discrimination, illiteracy, poor health and hardship. They were more likely to suffer physical ill-health, depression or neglect afterwards. “We have a generation of widows who have spent their lives facing discrimination from a deeply patriarchal society, and who have now lost everything,” said Krishna Gautam, Ageing Nepal’s founder. “And they’re still not receiving the assistance they need to recover – physically or emotionally” (IRIN, 1 March 2017).

Sub-Saharan Africa

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Affected areas

Tanganyika province

Cause of displacement

Conflict

Figures

About 16,000 new displacements between 21 and 23 February; about 7,000 secondary displacements between 21 and 23 February

Context

More than 11,000 people fled from Kamandi lake in Lubero territory, after clashes on 21 February between the Congolese army and another armed group. IDPs stayed with host families or in schools and churches. Others continued to arrive in the area, driven by fear of further clashes.

As many as 5,300 people fled from their villages in south-eastern Tanganyika province after attacks on 22 and 23 February that killed two people. They sought refuge in Kalemie, Moni and Kalunga areas.

About 7,000 IDPs in Bimbwi area were also forced to flee between 21 and 23 February.

A separate attack in Sange, 75 kilometres north-east of Kiambi in Manono territory, prevented the distribution of food aid to 1,500 IDPs (OCHA, 28 February 2017).

Madagascar

Affected areas

Northern parts of the country

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Hurricane)

Figures

More than 10,000 new displacements between 6 and 8 March

Context

More than 10,000 people were displaced between 6 and 8 March by Hurricane Enawo, which brought high winds and heavy rains that prompted fears of flooding. Although the north-east of the country was the worst affected by Enawo, which made landfall on 7 March, parts of the capital, Antananarivo, in central Madagascar, were also evacuated as torrential rains hit the city (News24, 9 March 2017).

Nigeria

Affected areas

Borno state

Cause of displacement

Conflict

Figures

About 12,000 new displacements between February and 5 March

Context

About 7,000 people fled villages around the north-east Nigerian town of Chibok because of renewed Boko Haram attacks in February.

An additional 4,700 people fled to Chibok, including 4,500 people between 25 February and 5 March. These displacements followed a series of attacks in Borno state targeting civilians in areas where government forces had pushed out militant Islamist group Boko Haram. On 3 March, a series of suicide attacks took place near Bakassi camp for IDPs in Borno’s capital, Maiduguri. The only reported victims were the three suicide bombers (ECHO, 5 March 2017). Attacks on civilians also occurred in other areas newly taken from Boko Haram including Ngala, Dikwa and Damboa. On 1 March, Boko Haram militants held up vehicles heading to a market in Askira district in Chibok locality, stealing one vehicle (OCHA, 6 March 2017).

Since 2009, the conflict has led to the displacement of more than 2.3 million people (ECHO, 5 March 2017).

South Sudan

Affected areas

Greater Upper Nile region

Cause of displacement

Conflict

Figures

About 5,600 new and secondary displacements between February and 5 March

Context

Thousands of people fled fighting in areas occupied by the Lou Nuer ethnic group in Bieh state and moved to Panyang county in Jonglei state between February and 5 March. They joined about 5,600 people already there, having fled from Uror county in Eastern Bieh state to Panyang county, seeking food, water and medicines. Some people came from a protection of civilians site in Juba. The group included women, children and older people (Sudan Tribune, 4 March 2017).

People fled heavy fighting around Yuai town in Uror between pro-government forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA – IO) for control of the town. Yuai is a stronghold of the white army, a group of youth allied to the SPLM-IO and loyal to exiled opposition leader Riek Machar (Sudan Tribune, 16 February 2017).

Zimbabwe

Affected areas

Most parts of the country

Cause of displacement

Disaster (Flood)

Figures

About 2,000 displacements between October 2016 and 3 March 2017

Context

Around 2,000 people were made homeless by widespread flooding in Zimbabwe between October 2016 and 3 March 2017. About 860 people remained displaced as of 3 March after flooding in Tsholotsho district in Matabeleland North, where the Gwayi river and its tributaries burst their banks.

Matabeleland North is the worst affected area. Other affected provinces include Midlands, Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Manicaland and Harare. The government said La Niña had brought rain after a drought and the situation was exacerbated by Tropical Cyclone Dineo in mid-February. The risk of flooding remained high as 85 per cent of dams were full and overflowing (Floodlist, 3 March 2017).

More than 850 people in Siphepha area in Tsholotsho district displaced by flooding were evacuated to a primary school and hospital by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (The Herald, 27 February 2017).

Notes For the purposes of this update, refugee and IDP returns do not imply the achievement of a durable solution. The terminology, names and designations used in this update and the material in links do not imply any opinion on the part of IDMC.
Displacement figures reported here are indicative only and have been rounded to the nearest 10 (if the figure is less than 999), 100 (if the figure is less than 10,000) or 1,000 (if the figure is 10,000 or larger).
The IDU gives priority to displacement flows that occurred or were reported in stated period. However, due to reliance on third party sources, certain entries may include information that refers to an earlier reporting period. For the purposes of this update, refugee and IDP returns do not imply the achievement of a durable solution. For IDMC-validated and peer-reviewed figures, read our Global Report on Internal Displacement.