Last year most costly in a decade for disasters—Red Cross
Emma Batha, Alertnet, 16 Oct 2012
LONDON (AlertNet)—Last year saw the fewest disasters of any year in the past decade but was also the most expensive, costing some $365.5 billion—most of it caused by the Japanese quake and tsunami, according to a report by the Red Cross and the Red Crescent.
Some 31,105 people were killed in 336 natural disasters—including quakes, floods, droughts and storms—and 209 million other people were affected, according to the 2012 World Disasters Report.
The number of deaths was far lower than the preceding year when disasters claimed 297,730 lives—most of them in the January 2010 Haiti earthquake.
The report also takes an in-depth look at forced migration, calling on governments and humanitarian organisations to do more to address the needs of the growing numbers of people displaced by conflict, disasters, political upheaval and large development projects.
More than 72 million people, over one in every 100 of the world’s citizens, are now forcibly displaced, according to the World Disasters Report, the flagship publication of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Of these, an estimated 20 million are in a state of protracted displacement. But the IFRC said there was growing resistance among politicians and their citizens to supporting people forced to flee their homes.
Forced migration is costing the international community at least $8 billion a year, the IFRC added.
“The figures alone compel attention. But it is the human costs of forced migration—destroyed livelihoods, increased vulnerability,… lost homelands and histories, fractured households and disempowered communities …—which require urgent solutions and decisive action,” Geleta wrote in an introduction to the report.