Middle East, North Africa: Displacement Snapshot (January – December 2017) [EN/AR]


Civilians in Libya continue to suffer as a result of conflict, instability, political fragmentation and a collapsing economy. The current number of Libyan IDPs stands at 192,762, while the number of registered refugees and asylum seekers reached 60,090 (Data source: DTM). According to DTM, there was an increase in returnees (316,971 people) in some parts of the country where the situation improved. Large numbers of formerly displaced persons were reported to have returned to their homes in the respective baladiyas of Benghazi, Sirte, Ubari, Al Jabal Al Gharbi and Misrata. Primary needs for returnees is access to health services.

The situation remains problematic for returnees due to damaged infrastructure and the risks of landmines and explosive hazards. Also according to DTM, registered migrants are estimated to be around 400,000, with arrivals to Europe declining, Libya remains the main point of departure for the Mediterranean crossing to Europe (some 90 per cent of the over 181,000 people who arrived in Italy by sea in 2016 departed from Libya); in 2017 it is estimated that 175,959 (165,409 by sea) have crossed/arrived to Europe.


The displacement of Palestinians throughout the occupied Palestinian territory takes place in the context of Israel’s prolonged occupation, compounded by recurrent escalations in hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed factions. In the Gaza Strip, although no additional displacement has been recorded since the 2014 hostilities, as of end November 2017, some 23,500 Palestinians remain displaced following the destruction of their homes during the 2014 conflict, primarily due to funding shortages. In the West Bank, many Palestinians faced risk of forcible transfer due to a coercive environment generated by Israeli policies and practices, which created pressure on residents to leave their communities. These practices include the demolition or seizure of homes in Area C and in East Jerusalem based on the lack of building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain. Between January and November 2017, some 650 Palestinians were displaced due to such demolitions and seizures, marking a significant decline compared to the volume of displacement recorded in 2016.


Ongoing military operations and hostilities in some parts of the country continued to drive significant levels of displacement, and generate acute humanitarian needs throughout 2017.
While the number of long-term IDPs is estimated to have marginally decreased from 6.3 million to 6.1 million over the past year, overall monthly displacement rates increased with some 2.23 million population movements reported between January and October 2017, amounting to approximately 7,335 people displaced each day. This exceeded the level of displacement in 2016, where an estimated 2.05 million population movements were recorded over the whole year, amounting to approximately 5,612 displacements per day. Many people were displaced multiple times, moving from one location to another as frontlines shifted and hostilities drew closer. In addition to those internally displaced some 5.5 million Syrians were registered as refugees, including 5.3 million refugees in neighbouring countries. Despite the generosity of host countries in welcoming millions of Syrians, asylum space continued to shrink and increasingly managed admission policies were being adopted by neighbouring countries.


The human toll of four years of intensive, virtually non-stop combat has been enormous. In 2014, 2.5 million civilians were displaced inside Iraq; in 2015, more than one million people fled their homes; in 2016, an additional 700,000 people fled and in 2017, 1.7 million civilians were newly displaced. Population movements have been multi-directional; hundreds thousands of people fled their homes, while other hundreds thousands returned. Additionally, there are over 240,000 Syrian refugees who remain in Iraq and require assistance. In 2017, military operations in Mosul City,
Telafar and neighbouring areas displaced almost 1 million people, with tens of thousands leaving their homes before the onset of the military operations. Returns to relatively stable retaken areas are taking place. Last year more than 1 million Iraqis returned to their homes, and it is expected that increased returns continue in the coming year.


More than two and a half years of escalated conflict have increased significantly the scale and extent of displacement in Yemen. About 10 per cent of all Yemenis have experienced displacement, including an estimated two million who remain internally displaced and about one million returnees. Most IDPs are displaced from conflict hot spot areas – Taizz, Hajjah, Sa’ada and Amanat Al Asimah.
About 44 per cent of IDPs are displaced within their governorate of origin and 88.5 per cent have been displaced for at least one year. Most IDPs are housed in private settings, which places a prolonged burden on hosting families and the wider community. Despite ongoing conflict,
Yemen continues to be a transit route for people from the Horn of Africa trying to reach the Gulf countries and beyond, in search of finding better economic opportunities or protection.
In 2017, the total population of asylum-seekers and refugees in Yemen was over 280,000, with a migrant population of over 154,000. Most refugees live in Aden and Lahj, along the southern coastline in Al Maharah, and in Sana’a, Hadramaut and Taizz.

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