14.9 million people were internally displaced throughout the world due to natural disasters in 2011, mostly related to weather events such as floods and storms. 89% of the displacement occurred in Asia.
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) today launched its figures on people internally displaced worldwide by natural disasters at the Rio+20 conference in Brazil.
“The ten largest disasters in terms of the amount of people displaced all took place in Asia including multiple events in China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Japan” says NRC’s Secretary General Elisabeth Rasmusson. “The worst were the prolonged flood disasters in China and Thailand which together displaced over 5 million people”.
The largest displacement outside of Asia occurred in Mexico where Tropical Storm Arlene left 280,000 people homeless in Veracruz State in late June. The Americas accounted for 7% of the total global figure with over one million displaced, including by floods in Brazil which caused 170,000 to become uprooted from their homes. Four per cent of the global total were displaced in Africa, with Angola as the country with the highest number of people displaced (220,000) due to floods. Typhoon Washi survivors rest in a crowded evacuation center in Iligan city, southern Philippines, December 2011. (Photo: REUTERS/Erik De Castro)
“The impact of climate change such as changing rainfall patterns and increases in temperature, combined with rapid population growth, suggest that more and more people are likely to be affected by displacement” says Rasmusson.
China had the highest number of people newly displaced, where 10 events including floods, storms and earthquakes throughout the year displaced a total of 4.5 million people. Sri Lanka was the country with the largest percentage of the population displaced (3%) with almost 685,000 people displaced due to heavy seasonal rains and back-to-back floods.
While weather related disasters accounted for 92% of total displacement, the largest displacement triggered by a geophysical event was the Japan earthquake and tsunami where 492,000 were forced to flee their homes. One year on, 344,000 people still live in temporary accommodation.
“The international community must ensure that vulnerable communities are prepared to respond and able to find sustainable solutions as they recover from such life changing events” says Rasmusson. “Delegates at Rio+20 must ensure that international efforts to reduce disaster risk, build resilience and adapt to climate change, include initiatives to strengthen national and local governance, support sustainable livelihoods and improve access to basic services for the millions displaced worldwide by natural disasters”.For quotes and interviews, contact:
, Head of Communications, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: +41 79 379 89 52 Rolf A. Vestvik
, Director of Communications, Norwegian Refugee Council
E-mail : Rolf.email@example.com Mobile : +47 48 89 33 13 The report Global Estimates 2011, People Displaced by Natural Hazard-Induced Disasters is the leading annual summary of the numbers of people internally displaced by sudden onset natural disasters. It can be downloaded at www.internal-displacement.org.