Disasters make 14 million homeless each year
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