A new report has revealed that more than 32 million people were forced to evacuate their homes due to natural disasters in 2012. This was more than double the number of 2011, and is thought to be linked to changing global weather patterns. Worst impacted was India, which saw six point nine million people displaced in one region alone by flooding.
In total more than 80 percent of global displacement over the last five years has happened in Asia, linked to both geographic factors, as well as lack of infrastructural development and lack of disaster preparedness in many areas.
Other regions in Asia where displacement occurred were Pakistan, which also suffered severe flooding. North Korea, the Philippines, and Indonesia were also severely impacted by tropical storms.
In total more than 80 percent of global displacement over the last five years has happened in Asia
However it wasn’t just developing nations which were affected. Affluent states such as the USA and Japan also ranked high on the lists for displaced communities. 900-thousand people were forced to flee their homes in America last year, mostly due to Hurricane Sandy. In Japan in 2011, thousands opted to flee as a result of the fallout from the triple disaster of an earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear accident in the North East of the country.
According to Clare Spurrell, chief spokesperson for the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, “In 2012, we saw twice as many people being displaced by natural disasters as compared to the year before. So that was 32.4 million who were newly displaced in 2012. And this is by rapid onset disasters, such as floods, storms, wildfires and earthquakes.”
She noted that these events are becoming more frequent in many countries, stating that, “In the last five years three quarters of the countries, which reported disaster displacement, were affected by multiple displacement events. So this means that millions of people throughout the world are often being displaced again and again and again in this context.”