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May 16 - Natural Disasters Displaced 32.4 Million People In 2012, IDMC Study Shows
Signs Of The
More than 30 million people fled their homes in 2012 because of disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes, a new report indicates.
According to the study by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and the Norwegian Refugee Council, natural disasters forced 32.4 million people to flee last year, with the overwhelming majority (98 percent) due to climate- and weather-related events. While most of the victims live in developing nations, 2012 also saw an increase in environmental refugees in wealthy countries, particularly in the United States.
The report establishes that most of the damage was caused by severe flooding, with India and Nigeria suffering the brunt of the destruction. India, in particular, experienced repeated flooding during its long monsoon season. Africa suffered a record high in 2012, with 8.2 million people displaced because of natural disasters.
The study points out that both the intensity and the frequency of natural disasters are cause for concern as climate change is projected to continue to spur recurrent tragedies. According to the report, multiple displacement events occurred in three-quarters of the countries affected.
In order to improve government response to natural disasters, the IDMC report recommends greater data collection on the less visible among the environmental refugees -- those populations that may not have official evacuation centers and refugee camps at their aid. As Spurrell said, "We need to know more about those who seek refuge with families and friends, people who are repeatedly displaced by smaller disasters, or those who are stuck in prolonged displacement following a disaster -- not just those that make headlines."
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