Natural Disasters Displaced 22 Million People Last Year, 3 Times More Than War

In 2013 natural disasters displaced some 22 million people, with more than four-fifths of those being in Asia, according to a new report. Using four decades of data, the study by the Norwegian Refugee Council found that floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, and other hazards now cause twice as many people to lose their homes as in the 1970s. Over the last decade an average of 27 million people have lost their homes to disaster each year, and in 2010 that number rose to 42 million. In an especially bad year of violent conflict, 2013 saw three times more people lose their homes to natural disaster than war; this ratio has been as high as ten times in the past.

“Basically, the combination of mega natural disasters and hundreds of smaller natural disasters massively displaces people in many more countries than the countries that have war and conflict,” Jan Egeland, the secretary of the Norwegian refugee council, told The Guardian.

In a statement released with the report, Egeland said that this trend will continue as more people live and work in hazard-prone areas, and that “it is expected to be aggravated in the future by the impacts of climate change.”

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