Extreme weather displaces more people than war

"Tacloban Typhoon Haiyan 2013-11-14" by Trocaire from Ireland - DSC_0974. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Tacloban Typhoon Haiyan 2013-11-14” by Trocaire from Ireland – DSC_0974. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters drove 22 million people out of their homes in 2013. That is three times the number of people displaced by war and twice as many as were displaced by extreme weather in the 1970s. The study Global Estimates 2014. People Displaced by Disasters, published by the Norgewian Refugee Council (NRC), gathers data for the period 2oo8-2013 and the results are pretty scary.

Some events were extremenly destructive. Typhoon Haiyan, the deadliest ever recorded, forced 1,000.000 people to leave their homes in the Philippines. That is more than in Africa, America, Europe and Oceania combined, the study points out.

Since the 1970’s “the risk of displacement is estimated to have more than doubled”. This trend has been even more exaggerated in developing countries, mostly in Asia. Between 2008 and 2013, 81% of displacements took place in Asia, with countries like China, India, Bangladesh or Vietnam  seriously heaten by extreme weather and natural disasters.

In the last IPCC report, scientists from all over the world warned that extreme weather events are going to be more frequent due to climate change. “People who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally or otherwise marginalized are especially vulnerable to climate change”, the IPCC pointed out.

As former Irish president Mary Robinson wrote:

The human cost of global warming has a name: climate injustice. The remedy, then, is climate justice. Climate justice is not just the recognition that climate change is a matter of human rights and development; it also involves recognising that the victims of global warming are not responsible for it, nor can their actions alone halt it.

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