Weather disasters caused 50 lakh internal displacements in 2019

India had one in five of all internal displacements caused by disasters across the world in 2019, mostly caused by floods, cyclones and drought, according to the State of the Environment report released on Thursday. In fact, 19 major extreme weather events also claimed 1,357 lives last year.

Also read: ‘Climate change caused 15 disasters this year’

There were more than 50 lakh internal displacements in India last year, the highest in the world. This refers to the number of movements, not people, as individuals can be displaced several times, said the Centre for Science and Environment, which published the report.

Flooding caused by the south-west monsoon led to 26 lakh displacements, while Cyclone Fani alone led to 18 lakh displacements, followed by Cyclone Vayu and Bulbul. On the other hand, drought conditions in 19 States led to another 63,000 displacements.

Apart from such forced migrations, many migrants move for work. With migrant workers in the news due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, the report also broke down 2011 census data on migrant populations. There were over 45 crore migrants in the country at the time, with the vast majority migrating within their own State. In 2011, over 1.7 crore new migrants had moved for employment purposes, mostly from rural to urban areas.

The report also offers a snapshot of data on forests, water, waste, air, land, wildlife and other natural resources. It notes that there were 747 more tigers in 2018 than in 2014. However, the net area meant for tiger conservation shrunk by 179 square kilometres. Forest cover has shrunk in 38% of districts, while five out of 21 river basins are now in a state of absolute water scarcity.

“Each data is a story. It will raise your curiosity towards a development and will help you understand its impacts better,” said Down to Earth managing editor Richard Mahapatra in the foreword to the report. “We are sure that the data and the story it tells will help in better decision making.”

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 7:41:17 PM |

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