Situational context including new developments
The southern Africa region hosted some 8.6 million forcibly displaced persons by the end of August 2022, including 7 million internally displaced persons and more than 1 million refugees and asylumseekers. The operational context continued to be marked by ongoing complex humanitarian crises in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and internal conflict in northern Mozambique, while long-term refugee situations are endured in Angola, Botswana, the Congo (Republic of), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Sporadic movements from the Central African Republic into southern Africa continued to occur, while mixed movements from across Africa and further afield presented ongoing challenges. In 2022, four countries in the region were impacted by five tropical storms and cyclones, resulting in the loss of lives, displacement of over a million people and widespread destruction of shelters and infrastructure in settlements for refugees and internally displaced persons. Host communities were also affected. In addition, prolonged droughts and floods continued to affect agricultural production, livelihood opportunities and food security.
With some 5.5 million persons internally displaced, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was the largest internal displacement situation in Africa and among the largest in the world. The ongoing volatility in the east as well as the newly evolving situation in the west of the country continued to cause displacement both internally and into other countries. More than a million refugees and asylumseekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo were sheltered across the African continent. With its partners, UNHCR provided protection and distributed basic assistance, such as shelter and household items, to those in need. The organization led the protection, camp coordination and camp management and emergency shelter clusters for the response to internal displacement, as well as the inter-agency regional refugee response plan for the Democratic Republic of the Congo situation.
In Mozambique, conflict in Cabo Delgado province had displaced almost 947,000 people since 2017.
The situation deteriorated further, with waves of violent attacks and ambushes by road. UNHCR scaled up activities in the areas of protection, documentation, prevention of and response to genderbased violence, camp coordination and management, shelter and humanitarian assistance, and livelihoods. It worked closely with the Government and local authorities, including in its role as lead of the protection cluster for internal displacement. The growing impact of climate change and natural disasters continued to be felt in Mozambique, amplifying vulnerability and making life harder for refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities. The situation was also marked by extreme climate events, such as tropical Cyclone Gombe in March 2022. UNHCR strengthened operations in Maratane refugee camp and internal displacement sites to meet the assistance and protection needs exacerbated by these factors.
The impact of the conflict in Ukraine was felt across the region. Rising prices, including for grain and fuel, left refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities struggling to afford food and basic services. This situation was worsened by the challenges faced by UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP) in securing funding for food assistance in many operations, with ration reductions being implemented as a result.