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India Has Had Largest Number of Climate-Led Displacements in South Asia: Report

India was overrun by climate disasters in the last few months. This has forced large amounts of displacements.

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Climate Change
3 min read
India Has Had Largest Number of Climate-Led Displacements in South Asia: Report
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India was overrun by climate disasters in the last few months. This has forced more and more people to leave their homes and migrate to areas less prone to suffering through extreme weather events.

The Asian Development Bank recently published a report analysing Disaster Displacement in Asia and the Pacific.

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225.3 Million Internal Displacements in the Asia and Pacific Region

The majority of global displacements due to disasters can be traced back to the Asia and Pacific region. There have been 225.3 million internal displacements within the 2010-2021 time period. The annual average of internal displacements due to extreme weather events and natural disasters is 18.8 million.

The total economic damage that the region has suffered is estimated to be nearly 780 billion dollars as of 2021.

The worst-case predicted scenario, having seen the trend of damage caused by these disasters, is a loss of 1.4 trillion dollars by 2059.

Extreme weather events such as storms, cyclones, monsoon rains, and floods were found to be the cause for approximately 95% of the displacements within the region.

Internal Displacements by Disasters per Subregion (2010−2021).

(Photo Courtesy: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2022)

According to the report, South Asia has accounted for the third most disaster related displacements from 2010-2021 within the Asia and Pacific region. Over the last decade, South Asia has seen 61.4 million disaster displacements.

"From India to Bangladesh, and from Nepal to Sri Lanka, floods, storms, and earthquakes drive mass displacement every year."
Disaster Displacement in Asia and the Pacific, Asian Development Bank

While millions of these migrations have been pre-emptive measures taken by the government for disaster preparedness, many more continue to occur due to recurring storms, forcing people to leave their homes for prolonged periods of time.

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More Than 40 Million People Displaced in India 

In 2021, in India, the Southwest monsoon lasted a month longer than it usually does – from July to October. This overlapped with the beginning of the Northeast monsoon.

This phenomenon led to severely heavy rainfall over several states in the country and led to approximately 3,00,000 displacements in Tamil Nadu.

India has the largest number of displacements in the South Asian region and the third largest in the whole continent. In the last decade, India has had approximately 40 million displacements due to extreme weather events and natural disasters.

Five Countries and Territories with the most Disaster Displacements in South Asia (2010−2021).

(Photo: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2022)

Within South Asia, major tropical cyclones have been one of the biggest factors contributing to the disaster-led displacements, having triggered nearly 21 million internal displacements within the last decade.

'The most significant storm to affect the region in recent years was Cyclone Amphan, which formed in the Bay of Bengal in May 2020 and triggered close to 5 million displacements in India and Bangladesh,' said the report.

A large number of these displacements have been caused by structural measures to mitigate the impact of storms. This, in turn, has contributed to the risk of displacements in several regions and has also contributed to the increased exposure to floods for the people in these settlements.

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Climate Change to Lead to Even More Devastating Disasters

The report has shown that these disasters and weather events have gotten steadily more severe and more frequent, leading to considerably more damage and a harsher impacts on people's lives. This has been attributed directly to the climate crisis the world is undergoing.

The effects of climate change have started to become blatantly visible. "Slow-onset hazards may lead to the gradual loss of territory and livelihoods, increased food insecurity, and water scarcity," stated the report.

The report does clearly emphasize the fact that we can expect the frequency and intensity of these events to increase, and become steadily more devastating, causing much larger numbers of forced displacements.

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Edited By :Garima Sadhwani
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