The weather phenomenon El Niño had a massive effect on the climate in Ethiopia, and is causing a devastating drought in the country. NRC is responding to El Niño crises all over the world. Photo: NRC

Disaster and climate change

Every second, one person is displaced by disaster.

In 2018, more than 17.2 million people fled disasters in 125 countries and territories. Disasters displace three to ten times more people than conflict and war worldwide.

The basics of climate change, disasters and displacement

As climate change continues, it will likely lead to more frequent and severe natural hazards. The impact will be heavy. Climate change causes poverty and food shortages, and forces even higher numbers of men, women and children to flee their homes.

On average, 26 million people are displaced by disasters such as floods and storms every year (as of 2016). That's one person forced to flee every second.

Climate change is our generation’s greatest challenge.
Jan Egeland, NRC Secretary General

Our climate change and disaster work

NRC prioritises the rights and protection of displaced people in disasters.

  • We protect displaced people during and after disasters.
  • We prevent displacement by building resilience in countries at risk.
  • We deploy experts to strengthen the capacity of UN, regional and national partners who work on reducing disaster risks and adapting to climate change.
  • We expand and share our knowledge through research and analysis.
  • We achieve long-term policy solutions through advocacy.


On the ground

NRC works to prevent disaster and climate displacement, and strengthen resilience among displaced communities.

Our climate and disaster work on the ground falls within three pillars:

  • Short- and long-term environmental impact assessments.
  • Design and use of programmes that reduce negative environmental impact created by displaced populations and humanitarian aid.
  • Community guidance on assessing environmental risks, adapting coping strategies and developing sustainable environmental practices.

In all our projects, we take care to limit our environmental footprint.

Read more about how NRC cares for the environment.



Data and research

Our Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) is a global leader on figures related to disasters, natural hazards, climate change and displacement. Through its statistical calculations and patterns, IDMC can predict numbers of people at risk of disaster and climate change displacement in years to come.

Our strong data collections allow us to collaborate with governments and organisations to develop strategies that help communities at risk.

Learn more about IDMC's research.

Advocating for people displaced by climate change and disasters

The numbers speak for themselves. Policymakers, humanitarian and development organisations alike need to address, prevent and lessen the fatal impact of climate change.

NRC shares our successes and lessons learned with the broader humanitarian, disaster and climate change community, and stands up for those displaced by disaster and climate. We advocate for protection and assistance to become central components of disaster risk management, climate change adaptation and development planning. We work to influence global and regional policies so that they reflect these concerns.

NRC also participates in the implementation of the Nansen Initiative Protection Agenda. Here, we explore what happens when people displaced by disasters and climate change move across national borders.

Deploying our experts

When a natural disaster strikes, our experts deploy at a moment's notice. Where climate-related events might force people to flee, we send specialists to help them prepare.

NORCAP, our stand-by capacity roster, deploys our experts to the UN, regional institutions and national authorities. A number specialise in climate change adaptation, meteorology and hydrology, as well as reducing and managing disaster risk.

Our experts respond quickly to natural disasters, or work on improving local systems to help communities prepare for, and prevent, climate-related events harmful to their livelihoods.

Read more about our expert deployments.

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