Over 2.6 Million Displaced in Lake Chad Basin: IOM

NIgeria - According to IOM’s first regional analysis of displacement trends in the Lake Chad Basin crisis triggered by the Boko Haram insurgency, 2,635,450 individuals are now displaced in the region, both internally and across borders as refugees. An additional 1,022,950 people have returned home after being displaced. This adds up to more than 3.6 million persons directly affected by the crisis.

In response to the need for accurate and up-to-date information on displacement and human mobility resulting from the crisis, IOM activated its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in Nigeria in July 2014, Chad in January 2015, and Cameroon in November 2015. 

In all three countries, the DTM plays a key role in informing humanitarian and government actors about the location, number and profile of displaced populations, thereby enabling a targeted humanitarian response.

The crisis currently affecting the four countries of the Lake Chad Basin triggered significant displacement of different categories of populations, within and across country boundaries. 

Some 82 percent of the affected population is currently displaced in Nigeria, while 9 percent are in Cameroon, 6 percent in Niger, and 3 percent in Chad.

This population comprises 67 percent internally displaced persons (IDPs), 28 percent returnees (including former IDPs who returned to their locality of origin and migrants and refugees who returned to their country of origin), and 5 percent refugees.

Two main displacement trends have been identified: internal displacement and refugee flows. Of the estimated 2,635,450 persons currently displaced in the four countries, an estimated 2,444,814 are displaced within their own country (IDPs) while another 190,636 have crossed an international border (refugees).  The IDPs make up 93 percent of the total displacement, and the refugees 7 percent.

This highlights that, despite close links between countries and cross-border issues, most movements remain internal to the concerned countries. Of the individuals who continue to be displaced as of today, 61 percent were displaced in 2014, 25 percent in 2015, 9 percent in 2016, and 5 percent before 2014.

IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa Richard Danziger noted: “Humanitarian actors continue to witness widespread suffering that calls for the provision of urgent assistance. The joint efforts of the authorities, humanitarian partners and donors remain vital to ensure that the basic needs of populations affected by the violence are met.”

While more than 2.6 million people remain displaced, another million people have already returned home. Since the onset of the crisis, a total of 1,022,950 persons returned to their area of origin. They include both former IDPs (959,763 persons) and returned migrants and refugees (63,187 persons).

In line with displacement trends, most movements identified occurred within countries. Former IDPs represent 94 percent of all returns, while migrants and refugees represent just 6 percent. Returns mostly occurred in 2014 (527,789 individuals or 52.41 percent) and 2016 (387,606 individuals or 38.49 percent), and, to a lesser extent, in 2015.

While the crisis was mainly triggered by the conflict and the Boko Haram insurgency, other factors also induced displacement. The insurgency accounted for 92.9 percent, community clashes (5.5 percent) and natural disasters (1.5 percent). 

The regional DTM report also reveals that the majority of affected individuals, an estimated 75 percent, live in host communities, while 25 percent live camps and collective settlements. A total of 2,111 locations were identified as hosting affected populations: 1,435 in Nigeria, 541 in Cameroon and 135 in Chad.

Finally, displacement in the Lake Chad Basin affects children disproportionally. An estimated 62 percent of the displaced are under 18 and the great majority of displaced households have children (87 percent).

The implementation of the DTM in Cameroon, Chad, and Nigeria is funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and the Nigerian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).  Data on Niger was provided by UNHCR and the Government of Niger.

The full DTM report can be found at:

For further information, please contact IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa at: