Each and every year, an average of 14 million people are left homeless as a result of natural disasters. Why is this the case?
Partially, this is a result of climate change and the increasing population of certain countries and the world in general. In particular, places with highly dense populations such as many countries in Asia are hit much harder than other countries by natural disasters, resulting in more and more people becoming homeless. In fact eight out of the ten countries with the greatest displacement and housing loss rates are in South and Southeast Asia including India and China.
In particular, An average of 2.3 million people in India lose their homes or are forced to leave each year, while in China, 1.3 million people are uprooted, according to a recent report announced on the International Day for Disaster Reduction.
Homelessness in the United States
It is not just more rural countries impacted by natural disasters, either. In countries such as Russia and the United States, homelessness is also on the rise due to natural disasters. If adjustments are not made, such as appropriate disaster management strategies, numbers could increase drastically over the next few years.
Robert Glasser, the U.N. secretary general’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, said, “The findings underline the challenge we have to reduce the numbers of people affected by disasters.” Glasser goes on to later say, “Apart from death or severe injury in a disaster event, there is no more crushing blow than the loss of the family home.”
An Increase in Population Across the Globe
Refugees and others living in highly-populated countries across the world are at a record high, according to IDMC. The greater the population, the greater the risk of displacement as a result of a natural disaster.
Action must be taken to reduce, if not prevent, the number of people left without a home from flooding, earthquakes, tornados, and other natural disasters. In an attempt to reduce these numbers, urban planning is being introduced all over the world. Usually, as those less wealthy live on the outskirts of cities, they are more prone to flooding - living near the river banks, which can burst.
According to Justin Ginnetti, the head of data and analysis at IDMC, there’s a strong correlation between people being uprooted by disaster and living in a rapidly urbanizing location. Ginnetti later illustrates the examples of Japan and the Philippines, where roughly the same number of people are exposed to cyclones. Unlike the Philippines, Japan builds more robust housing and faces less displacement than the Philippines, where homes are less able to withstand some cyclones and other disasters. Action must be taken now to reduce displacement and homelessness across the globe.