4.4 million internally displaced in Bangladesh in 2020

People are running to the shelters ahead of cyclone Amphan in Koyra upazila of Khulna on 20 May 2020.Prothom Alo

As soon as the monsoon started, Sirajganj and Chandpur city protection dams broke. Hurricane Yaas had earlier displaced large numbers of people off the coast and in the islands. The flood is now approaching the northern part of the country due to flash floods coming from upstream. A large number of people become homeless due to such disasters.

Bangladesh ranks third in the world in terms of the number of people displaced by natural disasters and various conflicts. This information was recently highlighted in the report 'Global Report on Internal Displacement 2021' of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) based in Switzerland.

People run through a waterlogged road due to rising sea level ahead of Cyclone Yaas at Digha in Purba Medinipur district in West Bengal, India, on 26 May, 2021

According to the report, 40.5 million people from 149 countries and territories around the world have been internally displaced by 2020 due to natural disasters such as floods and cyclones. Bangladesh ranks third among them.

During this time 4.4 million people have become homeless in Bangladesh. Almost all of them have been displaced due to natural disasters. The number of people displaced due to conflict is 230.

In this regard, BRAC University Emeritus professor Ainun Nishat told Prothom Alo that many people of Bhola and Noakhali were increasingly internally displaced due to river erosion and storms in the 70's. People from Khulna, Satkhira and Patuakhali areas have been added to that now. He said, "If our embankments were repaired properly, the number of homeless would be reduced." “We need to pay more attention to that,” he added.

People shift with their belongings as water level rises because of the effect of cyclone Yaas on 26 May 2021
Prothom Alo

According to the report, the number of displaced in the world in 2020 stood at 55 million. There have never been so many homeless in the world before. This number is increasing in the last one year due to the increase in natural disasters and conflicts in the world.

The report on South Asia says that in 2020, about one-third of the world's newly displaced refugees are in South Asia. About 9.2 million people have been displaced in the region at this time. In May 2020, cyclone Amphan hit Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Bhutan. It was the world's biggest natural disaster that year that made about 5 million people displaced. Apart from this, people have also become homeless due to monsoon rains and floods in Bangladesh.

The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, however, thinks that the number of internally displaced people in the country will not be 4.4 million. Because, this report takes the people displaced by the floods into account. Flood-affected people return home after the disaster. As a result, they will not be identified as displaced in any way.

State minister for relief and disaster management Enamur Rahman told Prothom Alo, "We are working on various rehabilitation projects, including shelter projects for the homeless due to river erosion. Those who are being displaced are being rehabilitated elsewhere,” he added.

The IDMC report further said that in 2020, 37 million people were displaced due to natural disasters and 9.8 million due to conflict. China has the highest number of displaced. Around 5 million people have been displaced by natural disasters in the country. In the Philippines, which is in second place, 4.4 million people have been displaced by natural disasters and 111,000 by conflict.

India is in the fourth place. Natural disasters in the country have displaced 3.8 million people and displaced 3,900 people in the conflict. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is fifth on the list. There are 279,000 people displaced due to natural disasters and 2.29 million people due to conflict.