Climate disasters force 20 million people from their homes each year

Climate disasters force 20 million people from their homes each year
Climate destruction is resulting in increased inequality in the countries that are most affected by it. Credit: Belga

Climate disasters force some 20 million persons from their homes each year, Oxfam noted in a report published on Monday.

This amounts to about one person every other second, added the anti-poverty organisation, which has urged participants in the UN Conference on Climate Change, COP25, to strengthen financial aid to the most vulnerable communities.

Catastrophes related to climate change have been the main factor of internal population displacement over the past decade, according to the report, titled ‘Forced from Home’. The risk of displacement after a cyclone, flood or fire is three times as high as in conflict situations, Oxfam notes.

While it spares no one, as fires in Australia and floods in Europe have shown recently, climate change forces mainly the most vulnerable people and the populations of the poorest countries to abandon their homes, it adds.

In fact, seven of the countries most exposed to internal displacement due to extreme climatic conditions are small developing island states such as Cuba, Dominica and Tuvalu. In Europe, the countries most vulnerable to internal displacement are the Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Poland.

Oxfam is calling on states to set up a new fund to support efforts by poor communities to rebuild after disasters. New and additional sources of funding need to be found for the losses and damage suffered by frontline countries, Inès Ayari, a climate expert for Oxfam Solidarity, stressed.

Financing needs to benefit mainly the persons most affected, who are often women and the most vulnerable communities in developing countries, she noted.

According to the Oxfam study, economic losses from extreme climate conditions amount to at least 2% of the GDP of the countries affected over the past decade and can run as high as 20% of GDP in small island states.

The Brussels Times

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