What's the Latest Development?
Over 32 million people were displaced by floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters in 2012, according to data released this week by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDRC), a group established by the Norwegian Refugee Council to track forced movements of populations. According to a highlights document available on the IDRC Web site, that number is nearly twice that of 2011, and represents 22 percent of all disaster-related displacements since 2008. Although significant numbers were displaced in flood-prone areas of India and Pakistan, the 775,000 Americans affected by Superstorm Sandy and forest fires put the US into the top-10 list of countries with the highest number of people forced from their homes.
What's the Big Idea?
The IDRC highlights document states that 98 percent of all displacements in 2012 happened because of weather and/or climate-related events. Unfortunately for their residents, five countries stay in the top-10 list each year: China, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Nigeria. These countries all have large populations and are located in areas that are at greater risk for natural disasters, particularly flooding. The document also warns that "climate change is projected to influence the frequency and intensity of weather extremes over the coming decades."