By Mamer Abraham
A study by the International Organization for Migration has revealed that IDPs with adequate housing are three times less likely to rely on humanitarian assistance and twice as to have stable incomes.
The study published by the IOM’s Global Data Institute (GDI) in partnership with Georgetown University in the United States is a comprehensive analysis of the state of solutions to internal displacement worldwide.
Ugochi Daniels, IOM Deputy Director General for Operations, said the debate the organization carried out with 74 returnees, IDPs, and host community focus groups was a paradigm shift from the end of displacement to the exact time when the solutions to displacement started.
“Our findings are shifting the debate from ‘when does displacement end’ to ‘when do solutions start,” said Ugochi.
“Together with the communities we serve, IOM is committed to leaving no one behind in the quest for a sustainable, resilient future. Progress shows us where investments can be made for effective solutions, which match what IDPs also tell us: adequate housing, livelihoods, and local integration in situations when displacement persists,” he continued.
To supplement existing datasets, 74 focus group discussions were conducted with IDPs, returnees, and host communities in 10 countries to see what displacement-affected communities themselves think are the barriers to finding solutions and the ways of overcoming them.
Katherine Donato, Donald G. Herberg Professor of International Migration at Georgetown University, said that solutions to pertinent issues affecting IDPs have been practical for humanitarian actors to forge tangible realizations of lasting solutions to displacement.
“For decades, humanitarian actors have been working on supporting solutions for IDPs, and good work has been done in developing indicators for ending displacement,” said Katharine Donato, Donald G. Herzberg Professor of International Migration at Georgetown University.
“Progress builds on those efforts and identifies evidence-based findings that can help move IDPs to sustainable solutions,” she added.
“We are struggling; we can’t afford the current living conditions, with commodity prices increasing every time,” an Ethiopian community leader told a focus group discussion, pointing to their dependence on relief and the importance of access to livelihood opportunities during displacement.
“Besides, we have lost everything we had before displacement, and it makes us too vulnerable to money shortages,” said the community leader.
The report estimated that fifteen countries host 37.5 million out of 71.1 million IDPs worldwide, which calls for urgent measures to strap down displacement-related vulnerabilities and disparities between IDPs and host communities.
The fifteen countries selected as pilots by the Office of the Special Advisor on Solutions to Internal Displacement include Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Libya, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Vanuatu, and Yemen.
According to the data provided by IOM on its website, South Sudan hosted 2,027,331 IDPs, out of which 8 percent were abroad, and 2,335,604 returnees, including 27 percent returnees from abroad, in 3,916 locations across South Sudan.
Currently, there is a constant movement of returnees from Sudan to the Bulukat transit center in Malakal, Upper Nile State, where the returnees are either airlifted or ferried by boat to their various destinations.