A record number of people made homeless by disasters in the first half of 2019

A record number of people made homeless by disasters in the first half of 2019
© Belga

Some 7 million people have been made homeless by extreme weather conditions during the first half of the year, according to a new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). 2019 could well be the most disastrous on record.

The report published on Thursday compiles data from governments, UN humanitarian agencies and various newspaper items concerning displacements recorded between January and June 2019.

Extreme weather conditions, like storms or floods, have forced a record number of 7 million persons to flee their homes.

As the second half of the year has been more subject to climate hazards, the agency expects to see this figure triple to 22 million by the end of 2019.

"That would make 2019 one of the worst years for this type of displacement," the IDMC noted with concern. The report cites disasters like cyclone Fani that resulted in millions of people being evacuated in India and Bangladesh, and cyclone Idai that left vast tracts across Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Madagascar devastated in its wake.

Flooding is just as destructive, the document emphasised. In Iran, about 90% of the country has been affected by floodwaters this year. "With a changing climate like today's, mass displacements resulting from extreme weather events are becoming the norm."

The head of the IDMC Alexandra Bilak is calling for more international action to reverse the tendency and support the millions of internally displaced persons.

"We must invest in sustainable development and adapting to climate change," she stated. "It is only in this way that we will be able to counter the upset, trauma and impoverishment that all these people suffer each year."

The Brussels Times

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