Global & Disaster Medicine

Climate-related disasters have been the number 1 reason for internal displacement in the past decade

An Oxfam report painted a bleak picture of the damage already done

People living in small island developing states are 150X more likely to be displaced by extreme weather than people living in Europe.


Forced from home: climate-fuelled displacement

Pastoralist communities in the Somalia region

Publication date: 2 December 2019
Author: Oxfam

Climate-fuelled disasters were the number one driver of internal displacement over the last decade – forcing an estimated 20 million people a year from their homes. While no one is immune, it is overwhelmingly poor countries that are most at risk. Eighty percent of those displaced in the last decade live in Asia, home to over a third of the world’s poorest people.

Small island developing states make up seven of the 10 countries that face the highest risk of internal displacement as a result of extreme weather events. These communities are 150 times more likely to be displaced by extreme weather disasters than communities in Europe. Countries from Somalia to Guatemala are seeing large numbers of people displaced by both conflict and the climate crisis.

Despite this, the international community has made little progress towards the provision of new funds to help poor countries recover from loss and damage resulting from the climate emergency. As the 2019 UN Climate Summit opens, Oxfam is calling for more urgent and ambitious emissions reductions to minimize the impact of the crisis on people’s lives, and the establishment of a new ‘Loss and Damage’ finance facility to help communities recover and rebuild.

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