Displacement caused by climate change and natural disasters

Sep 5, 2017

Das größtenteils auf Meereshöhe gelegene Bangladesch ist von de Folgen des Klimawandels besonders betroffen Enlarge image (© PDD)

Flooding, hurricanes and mudslides – these days, millions of people already face the threat of natural disasters. Due to climate change, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense. Particularly in poorer countries, many people are fleeing from rising sea levels and recurring drought. Germany therefore hosted a meeting of experts on “Displacement caused by climate change and natural disasters”.

Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti n 2016, destroying thousands of homes Enlarge image Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti n 2016, destroying thousands of homes (© Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH ) The humanitarian challenge


Displacement caused by climate change is one of the key humanitarian challenges of the 21st century. Over the last 20 years, the number of natural disasters has increased from approximately 200 to 400 per year, and this number continues to rise.

In less developed and less stable countries, the population is particularly strongly affected by flooding and drought – which often threaten people’s livelihoods. Millions of people around the world are fleeing natural disasters and the effects of climate change.


Meeting of experts in Berlin

As part of the Migration & Development Series, experts met on 31 August 2017 to discuss the humanitarian consequences of climate change. At the symposium in Berlin, Atle Solberg of the Platform on Disaster Displacement said:

"Displacement caused by disasters or resulting from climate change is already a reality today. In future, the number of displaced persons who cross international borders is set to increase. Every country may need to confront the issue of cross-border displacement resulting from disasters, either as a country of origin, transit or destination. We must better prepare ourselves to deal with such displacement and redouble our efforts in this regard".


Rising sea levels pose a threat to settlements and agricultural land Enlarge image Rising sea levels pose a threat to settlements and agricultural land (© PDD) Chairmanship of the Platform on Disaster Displacement

Germany has been engaged at international level for many years to improve disaster risk reduction, so that people in affected regions are better prepared to deal with impending disasters.

Germany assumed the Chairmanship of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) in 2016. The Federal Foreign Office is working hard in the context of the Chairmanship to improve the protection of populations against natural disasters and the effects of climate change.


A German disaster risk reduction project

For example, the Federal Foreign Office supports a pilot project that the German Red Cross is conducting in Peru and that was awarded a prize in the 2017 Land of Ideas competition. With detailed weather forecast data, it aims to better predict cold snaps and other natural events in the Andean Mountains, so that the affected population can be given humanitarian aid before an emergency arises.

Pilot projekt of the German Red Cross in Peru


Find out more:

Humanitarian disaster risk reduction

Climate Change

Displacement and migration

Platform on Disaster Displacement

IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Center

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