People-centric tech targets disaster displacement

As weather-related disasters force millions from their homes each year, new technologies are transforming the humanitarian response, writes Gareth Willmer.

When disaster strikes, the immediate death toll is first to hit the headlines. But a much longer-term problem is the potentially huge number of people forced to move – a figure set to surge amid the rising impact of climate change.

Over 17 million people worldwide were displaced by disasters last year, the vast majority of which were weather-related, according to a new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

At 41.3 million, the estimated number of people living in internal displacement from disasters or conflict is at its highest-ever level, the report states, adding: “Despite policy progress in several countries, the root causes of internal displacement are still not being adequately addressed.”

“Even a country that is relatively well prepared and disaster-aware is going to experience a disproportionate impact on its poorer population,” - IDMC director Alexandra Bilak

One of the biggest issues in the coming years, the report highlights, will be rising rural-urban migration, with 95 per cent of urban growth expected to happen in developing countries. Adding to rapid, unplanned sprawl, this threatens to make people even more vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as the now “staggeringly high” risk of floods, the authors warn.

Read More At The SciDevNet

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