Record 7 Million People Displaced By Extreme Weather During First Half Of 2019

New information from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) shows that during the first half of 2019, a record 7 million people have been displaced by extreme weather events linked to climate change, the New York Times reports.

Using data from governments, UN humanitarian agencies, and news accounts, the IDMC says weather events have led to more human displacement in 2019 than that from conflict and violence:

The authors of the report note:

“In today’s changing climate, mass displacement triggered by extreme weather events is becoming the norm.”

The figures released by the IDMC were tabulated before the Bahamas were ravaged by Hurricane Dorian, and the organization predicts that the total number could surpass 22 million before the end of the year. That would make 2019 one of the worst years on record for displacement caused by weather disasters since the most extreme weather events take place between June and September.

Among the extreme weather events detailed in the report, EcoWatch notes, are:


    • Cyclone Fani, which displaced 3.4 million people in India and Bangladesh in May
    • Cyclone Idai, which displaced 617,000 in Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Madagascar in March
    • Spring flooding in Iran, which displaced 500,000

Additionally, India was slammed by Cyclone Vayu in June, displacing 289,000 people. Flooding in displaced 405,000 in the Philippines, 190,000 in Ethiopia, and 75,000 in Bolivia. But there was some good news inside those numbers:

“However, not all disaster displacements are equal. The 3.4 million displaced by Fani were evacuated ahead of time, an act that saved lives and showed that India and Bangladesh had learned from past disasters.”


IDMC Director Alexandra Bilak urged countries across the world to gain insight from the increasing number of weather-related displacements:

“With the impact of climate change, in the future these types of hazards are expected to become more intense. Countries that are affected repeatedly like the Bahamas need to prepare for similar, if not worsening, trends.”

The report also stressed the importance of world leaders meeting this month for the UN Climate Action Summit in New York:

“The international community cannot continue to ignore internally displaced people. We must support national governments in their efforts to protect and assist IDPs, build peace and invest in sustainable development and climate change adaptation. Only then will we be able to reduce the upheaval, trauma and impoverishment that many millions of people suffer each year, and reverse the trends laid out in this report.”

President Donald Trump has already said he will skip the Climate Action Summit which begins on September 23 and send Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to represent the United States. 


Featured Image Via Flickr



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