SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Around 10.3 million people were displaced by climate change-induced events in the last six months, a humanitarian organization says.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says about 2.3 million others were displaced by conflict in the same period, indicating the vast majority of internal displacements are now triggered by climate change.
The figures cover a six-month period from September 2020 to February 2021. They highlight an accelerating global trend of climate-related displacement, according to Helen Brunt, Asia Pacific Migration and Displacement Coordinator for the IFRC.
According to IFRC’s report, 60 per cent of internally displaced due to climate change disasters in the last six months were in Asia,
Statistics from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) show that on average 22.7 million people are displaced every year. This includes displacements caused by geophysical phenomenon such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but the vast majority are displaced by weather-related events.
“Things are getting worse as climate change aggravates existing factors like poverty, conflict, and political instability,” Brunt says. “The compounded impact makes recovery longer and more difficult: people barely have time to recover and they’re slammed with another disaster.”
In 2018, 17.2 million people were displaced around the world and 24.9 million in 2019. Full-year figures are not yet available for 2020, but IDMC’s mid-year report showed there were 9.8 million displacements because of natural disasters in the first half of last year.
The situation escalates at an alarming pace. By 2050, over 1 billion people are expected to face forced migration due to conflict and ecological factors, a report by the Institute for Economics and Peace found last year.