Dis­as­ters make 14 mil­lion home­less each year

Daily News - - WORLD -

LON­DON: About 14 mil­lion peo­ple are be­ing made home­less on av­er­age each year as a re­sult of sud­den dis­as­ters such as floods and storms, new fig­ures show.

The risk of dis­place­ment could rise as pop­u­la­tions swell and the im­pacts of cli­mate change be­come more se­vere, said a report is­sued on Fri­day by the United Na­tions Of­fice for Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion (UNISDR) and the Geneva-based In­ter­nal Dis­place­ment Mon­i­tor­ing Cen­tre (IDMC).

Earth­quakes, tsunamis, floods and trop­i­cal cy­clones are the main dis­as­ters fore­cast to up­root large num­bers of peo­ple, with coun­tries in Asia, home to 60% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion, hit par­tic­u­larly hard, ac­cord­ing to mod­el­ling by the agen­cies.

Eight of the ten coun­tries with the high­est lev­els of dis­place­ment and hous­ing loss are in South and South-east Asia.

They in­clude India, where an av­er­age of 2.3 mil­lion peo­ple are forced to leave their homes an­nu­ally, and China with 1.3 mil­lion peo­ple up­rooted each year, found the report.

The num­bers ex­clude those evac­u­ated ahead of a threat, and peo­ple dis­placed by drought or ris­ing seas.

Rus­sia and the United States also fea­ture as coun­tries where dis­as­ters could cause largescale home­less­ness, un­less sig­nif­i­cant progress is made on man­ag­ing dis­as­ter risk, the study said.

“The find­ings un­der­line the chal­lenge we have to re­duce the num­bers of peo­ple af­fected by dis­as­ters,” said Robert Glasser, the U.N. sec­re­tary-gen­eral’s spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive for dis­as­ter risk re­duc­tion.

“Apart from death or se­vere in­jury in a dis­as­ter event, there is no more crushing blow than the loss of the fam­ily home,” he added in a state­ment.

The most dev­as­tat­ing floods to hit South Asia in a decade killed more than 1 400 peo­ple this year, and fo­cused at­ten­tion on poor plan­ning for dis­as­ters, as au­thor­i­ties strug­gled to as­sist mil­lions of des­ti­tute sur­vivors. – Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion

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