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Millions of Africans Forced from their Homes Face Dual Hardship of COVID-19

Around 14.6 million new internal displacements were recorded across 127 countries and territories between January and June 2020, according to a new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). Conflict and violence triggered 4.8 million, primarily in Africa and the Middle East, a million more than in the first half of 2019. The greatest increases were in Syria, where nearly 1.5 million were recorded, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with 1.4 million and Burkina Faso with 419,000. The situation in Burkina Faso has deteriorated rapidly into the worst displacement crisis in West Africa as armed groups grow and expand their reach. Elsewhere in Africa, Cameroon, Mozambique, Niger and Somalia reported more new displacements in the first half of 2020 than in the whole of 2019. The report also reveals that many people living in areas exposed to disasters from North America to South Asia are reluctant to leave their homes for fear of contracting Covid-19 in evacuation centres. It shows too how a range of factors have converged to aggravate the situation of internally displaced people (IDPs) worldwide. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which was already the world’s worst, deepened in the first half of 2020, the result of ongoing conflict, high Covid-19 infection rates and some of the worst flooding in years. High numbers of displacements triggered by both conflict and disasters have also complicated the crises in DRC and Somalia.