Posts Tagged ‘Disaster Displacement’

Natural Disasters Displaced Nearly 20 Million People Last Year

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015
Leaving Home

Leaving Home

Since 2008, an average of 26.5 million people have been displaced each year by disasters, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (“NRC”). Last year, 19.3 million people were forced from their homes due to floods, storms, earthquakes and other disasters, slightly below the average for recent years, but still alarmingly high. ┬áThe NRC expects the problem to worsen due to the impacts of climate change, but believes that hazard-resilient building construction could significantly ameliorate the problem. The NRC’s research shows that disaster-related displacement is increasing, in part, because of rapidly growing populations in poorly constructed homes in hazard-prone areas.

Asia accounted for nearly 90 percent of the 19.3 million people displaced by 2014, caused by typhoons in China and the Philippines and floods in India. But the risk of being left homeless by disaster is not limited to less developed countries. The largest single case the NRC cited was found in Japan were some 230,000 people are still in temporary shelters following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2002, including people displaced from the area around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plan. In the United States, approximately 40,000 people still need housing assistance following Super Storm Sandy in 2012. And certainly the images of New Orleans residents housed in the Super Dome is seared into our national psyche. The findings of the NRC should motivate greater discussion about how policies to support disaster-resilient housing, including retrofitting aging structures.