Asia-Pacific

A record 7 million people displaced by extreme weather events in 2019

Displaced families arrive after being rescued by a boat from a flooded area of Buzi district, Mozambique, in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. Source: AAP

Extreme weather events, such as storms and floods, have forced the displacement of a record seven million people this year.

Some seven million people have been displaced by extreme weather in the first half of 2019, making the year one of the most disastrous on record, according to a new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

With the latter half of the year more prone to weather hazards, it expects that number to triple by the end of the year to around 22 million, the IDMC said in its latest mid-year report released on Thursday.

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19 March: Cyclone Idai leaves a trail of destruction in Zimbabwe
19 March: Cyclone Idai leaves a trail of destruction in Zimbabwe

The report compiled data from governments, United Nations humanitarian agencies and media reports on internal displacements recorded between January and June 2019.

It said that extreme weather, mainly associated with storms and floods, triggered a record seven million new displacements, with more to come.

"This would make 2019 one of the worst years on record for this type of displacement," the IDMC said.

The report cited disasters such as Cyclone Fani that forced millions of evacuations in India and Bangladesh, and Cyclone Idai that caused widespread devastation across Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

It said floods were similarly devastating.

In Iran, around 90 per cent of the country was affected by flooding this year.

"In today's changing climate, mass displacement triggered by extreme weather events is becoming the norm," the IDMC said.

A couple carries their pets after the onset of Cyclone Fani on May 3, 2019 in Puri, India.
A couple carries their pets after the onset of Cyclone Fani on May 3, 2019 in Puri, India.
AAP

Centre director Alexandra Bilak called for more international action to reverse the trends and to support the millions displaced each year.

"(We must) invest in sustainable development and climate change adaptation," Bilak said.

"Only then will we be able to reduce the upheaval, trauma and impoverishment that many millions of people suffer each year."

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