Last Updated: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

You are 60% more likely to be displaced by disasters today than you were in 1970s, Report says


Nearly 20 million people were forced to flee their homes due to natural disasters in 2014 with Asia most prone to natural disasters.

"Disaster-related displacement is on the rise and threatens to get worse in coming decades," Reuters reported quoting Alfredo Zamudio, director of the NRC's Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, as saying.

"Our historical analysis reveals you are 60 percent more likely to be displaced by disasters today than you were in the 1970s," Zamudio said. Close to 90 percent of the 19.3 million people displaced by natural disasters last year were in Asia, with China, India and the Philippines.

According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, Asia is most prone to natural disasters, accounting for almost 90 percent of the 19.3 million displaced in 2014. Rapidly growing and poorly built settlements in areas vulnerable to natural disasters are putting more people at risk of natural disasters, the report finds.

The report reveals how, in 2014, 17.5 million people were forced to flee their homes by disasters brought on by weather-related hazards such as floods and storms, and 1.7 million by geophysical hazards such as earthquakes.

Displacement related to disasters worldwide in 2014. Photo: IDMC
Earlier report by Risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft had shown about  56% of 100 cities most exposed to natural disasters to be in four Asian nations. Out of 100 cities with the greatest exposure to natural disasters, 21 were located in the Philippines, 16 in China, 11 in Japan and eight in Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, Natural Disasters in Asia and the Pacific: 2014 Year in Review report, released by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in March had kept the total death toll from natural disasters in 2014 over 6,000. The report also claimed that over half of the world's 226 natural disasters in 2014 occurred in the Asia and Pacific region. The highest economic losses in Asia and the Pacific were incurred from river-basin floods and Cyclone HudHud in India, followed by the Ludian earthquake in China.