Internally Displaced Persons cost near $13B Report Says

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) has said the annual economic cost of internal displacement globally is nearly $13 billion per year. As it is, internally displaced globally due to conflict, natural disasters, or both stands at 40 million. We have long understood the devastating impact internal displacement. It disrupts the safety and wellbeing of people affected by conflict, violence, disasters and development projects.

We have long understood the devastating impact internal displacement can have on the safety and wellbeing of people affected by conflict, violence, disasters and development projects.
But internal displacement also places a heavy burden on the economy, by limiting people’s ability to work and generating specific needs that must be paid for by those affected, their hosts, governments or aid providers.

Alexandra Bilak – Director of IDMC

The researchers assessed the economic impact of internal displacement in eight countries that have recently experienced significant displacement. The countries are Central African Republic (CAR), Haiti, Libya, the Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen. The eight countries were chosen for their geographic and economic diversity and availability of data. 

Increasing IDPs, Increasing Costs

According to the report, average annual economic impact for each internally displaced person (IDP) ranges from $174 in Somalia to $451 in CAR. Taking the average cost per IDP across all assessed countries, $310, and applying it to the total number of IDPs in the world – 40 million as of the end of 2017. This will result in $13 billion as global economic impact of internal displacement.

In all the countries assessed, the highest financial burdens came from lost income, support to housing and healthcare. The findings also indicate that impacts seem higher in low-income countries than lower-middle or upper-middle income countries.

The report used publicly available data to assess the costs and losses associated with health, shelter, education, security and income. IDMC said these estimates do not account for longer-term consequences of internal displacement. Such as the future reduction in income linked to a displaced child’s inability to access school. 

The most significant driver of internal displacement during the period studied, according to the report, was drought. Drought forced hundreds of thousands to flee in search of food, water and work. Apart from drought, another cause of displacement is violence. In CAR, decades of instability have led to a long-drawn displacement crisis. CAR’s estimated cost of crisis is currently around 11 per cent of the country’s annual GDP.

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