According to a report released yesterday by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) (a United Nations-guided monitoring and advocacy organization), a staggering 42 million people were displaced in 2010 by what the IDMC calls “mega-disasters” (violent storms, massive earthquakes, record flooding and other large-scale natural disasters). The IDMC expressed concern that this number of displaced individuals due to climate-related events has more than doubled since 2009′s 17 million sudden natural disaster dispacements.
Why the profound increase in just one year? Many experts are pointing to climate change, and warning that such precedent-setting weather events will only increase as our human industrial impact on the environment continues to build.
“The intensity and frequency of extreme weather events is increasing, and this trend is only set to continue. With all probability, the number of those affected and displaced will rise as human-induced climate change comes into full force.”
Right here in the United States, we have experienced devastating tornadoes across the south, midwest and eastern seaboard, and floods have pummeled states from Montana to Louisiana. Record snows fell this winter in many states of the upper midwest.
According to the Associated Press,
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres called the issue of climate-related displacement “the defining challenge of our times” and criticized the international community for lacking the political will to reduce to [sic] pace of climate change.
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