Risk of Losing Home to Disasters is Four Times More Likely Since 1970
GENEVA, March 11, 2015—The report coincides with the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan, where governments will adopt a global plan to reduce disaster risk and build upon the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015.
The risk of disaster-related displacement is large and growing. According to IDMC’s report, the main drivers of displacement risk include: population growth in hazard-prone areas, rapid and unplanned urbanisation, unequal distribution of wealth, weak governance and state failure. Due to the combination of these drivers, more people are at risk of being displaced and individuals are twice as likely to be displaced than in the past.
Climate change is also expected to play a part in the coming decades, with rising sea levels and storm surges, extreme precipitation, exacerbating existing threats and posing new ones. “Climate change will likely affect displacement in two ways,” says the director of IDMC, Alfredo Zamudio. “Firstly, weather events are predicted to come faster and harder, and will have detrimental impacts on those living in their path. Second, climate change may increase the vulnerability of communities, reducing people’s ability to resist and remain rooted if and when hazards strike”.
IDMC estimates that large countries like China and the Philippines, which have large exposed populations, will see the most displacement over the next ten years. When a country’s population size is taken into consideration, Haiti, Cuba and Antigua and Barbuda have high displacement risk as well.
The report shows that most measures taken to reduce disaster risk – such as the adoption and enforcement of land use plans and stronger building codes, diversifying and strengthening the livelihoods of the rural and urban poor – will also reduce displacement risk. Despite this, the HFA makes no reference to displacement by disasters; neither in terms of mitigating risk, nor in terms of an appropriate response.
“The world has a unique opportunity at Sendai to prevent millions of people from losing their homes by more robustly linking displacement risk with disaster risk reduction plans as we enter the post-2015 phase of the Hyogo Framework for Action,” says Zamudio.
IDMC’s analysis calls for a more coordinated and coherent international policy agreement at the WCDRR, which is critical for addressing displacement risk. “A disaster is not the number of people killed or the magnitude of the economic losses, the disruption of livelihoods or the scale of displacement. A disaster is all of these things together,” says Zamudio.
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) is a world leader in the monitoring and analysis of the causes, effects and responses to internal displacement. Through its monitoring and analysis of people internally displaced by conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations, and natural or human-made disasters, IDMC raises awareness and advocates for respect of the rights of at-risk and uprooted peoples.
IDMC is part of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). For more information, visit our website at www.internal-displacement.org .