Internal displacement: the ICRC’s work in 2010
12-07-2011 Operational Update
Working with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the ICRC provided humanitarian assistance to 4.3 million internally displaced people in 32 countries during 2010, all of whom had been driven from their homes by armed conflict or violence. The organization devoted 200 million Swiss francs to IDPs, which corresponds to 20% of the ICRC’s operations budget for 2010.
"Many of the internally displaced communities that the ICRC assisted in 2010 were suffering both recurrent violence and extreme environmental conditions," explained Anne Zeidan, head of the ICRC's IDP project. "The combination of violence and natural disaster often leaves communities totally unable to cope. In such situations, it’s essential both to provide emergency assistance and help people regain their self-sufficiency.”
The ICRC assisted 15.2 million civilians in 2010, 28% of whom were people displaced within their own countries. The organization's largest IDP operations were in Somalia, Pakistan, Sudan, the Philippines, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Yemen.
Security operations in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) continued during 2010, displacing hundreds of thousands. In July, devastating floods drove even more people from their homes.
"When the flood came, we sought refuge in the hills," explained one farmer. "We lost belongings, livestock and crops. The floods have washed away our income and our hopes."
The ICRC and the Pakistani Red Crescent Society provided food, water and medical services for 1.4 million people. The ICRC also supplied seed, fertilizer and agricultural implements to tens of thousands of displaced flood victims.
Somalia has been ravaged by conflict for over two decades. In 2010, the country was hit by a severe drought. "Ninety percent of Somali agriculture depends on rain, so it's badly weakened by the current drought. We estimate that 70% of the next harvest will be lost," said ICRC agronomist Ottavio Sardu, explaining how the drought was affecting both displaced and resident communities.
Thousands of Somalis fled their homes in search of safety and shelter. The ICRC distributed food to almost 500,000 displaced persons and other supplies to 679,000. ICRC water and habitat activities helped 400,000 people, while agriculture, veterinary and other micro-economic initiatives benefited 170,000.
Niger and Mali
Niger and Mali are two of the poorest countries in the world. Both countries faced a major food crisis in 2010, mainly on account of an exceptionally dry spell that put additional pressure on displaced communities already suffering the effects of armed violence.
"Now that things have calmed down a bit people have started going home. But they’ve lost almost everything,” says Allal Abdoulaye from Mali. “There’s a water shortage. People can't work like they did before, and everything has come to a stop. There’s a lot of tension as well. But everyone has come back, thank God!" During 2010, the ICRC provided food, shelter materials and household necessities to people displaced by intercommunal violence. In addition, the organization helped farmers affected by the fighting to rebuild their livelihoods.
The ICRC approach
The ICRC provides or supports health care in displaced communities, delivers emergency household items and food, supports agriculture, runs water and habitation services and provides other aid as required. The organization also works with national and local authorities to ensure that they fulfil their obligations to protect all categories of displaced person; men, women, boys and girls. Finally, the organization helps people who have become separated from their families to get back in touch.
Facts and figures for 2010
Number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) assisted by the ICRC1: 4.3 million
Number of countries in which the ICRC provided assistance to IDPs2: 32
Total IDP-related expenditure: 200 million Swiss Francs
Percentage of ICRC operations budget devoted to IDPs: 20%
Number of IDPs assisted, by region:
- Africa: 2,287,000
- Asia: 1,232,550
- Middle East; 571,000
- Europe and the Americas: 230,000
Countries where the ICRC ran its largest IDP programmes:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Central African Republic
Goods and services that the ICRC provided for individuals and communities affected by internal displacement:
- Health care
- Emergency household items
- Support for agriculture
- Restoration of family links
1. Not including people who benefited solely from ICRC activities aimed at restoring family links.
2. In 2010, the ICRC assisted IDPs in the following countries: Africa: Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia and Sudan. Asia: Afghanistan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Suva. Europe and the Americas: Azerbaijan, Colombia, Georgia, Haiti, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico and Russia. Middle East: Israel and the occupied territories, Iraq and Yemen.