Monday, June 6, 2011

42 million people displaced by sudden natural disasters in 2010

Kaja Haldorsen at the Norwegian Refugee Council: Over 42 million people across the world were forced to flee due to disasters triggered by sudden-onset natural hazards in 2010, according to a new study by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)’s Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). In 2009, 17 million people were displaced by such disasters, and 36 million in 2008.

“The scale of displacement is enormous. Every single number in this report is a person whose life is severely affected, and it is vital that those women, men and children who are being displaced by the impact of climate change and natural hazards receive the assistance and protection they need”, said NRC Secretary General Elisabeth Rasmusson at the launch.

“This report provides us with evidence of the extent and urgency of the problem that we cannot ignore. We must increase collaborative efforts to prevent displacement by natural disasters, and do a better job of protecting those displaced”.

The number of natural disasters reported has doubled from around 200 to over 400 a year over the past two decades. In 2010, over 90 per cent of disaster displacement within countries was caused by climate-related hazards, primarily floods and storms. “The intensity and frequency of extreme weather events is increasing, and this trend is only set to continue. With all probability, the number of those affected and displaced will rise as human- induced climate change comes into full force”, said Rasmusson.

“The humanitarian community will have to be better prepared to respond to large-scale natural disasters and the displacement that follows. The way that the international response system is set up today, we cannot do so adequately”. The huge numbers, and the variations between years, were largely due to the impact of the largest “mega-disasters” such as the massive floods in India in 2009, and in China and Pakistan in 2010, as well as the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti….

Pakistani flood victims collect relief supplies delivered by US helicopters, on September 4, 2010 (US Marine Corps photo by Capt. Paul Duncan/Released)

No comments: