19.3 million displaced by natural disaster in 2014

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A child lies injured after an Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake during a visit by former US President Bill Clinton. Photo: UN Photo/Logan Abassi

Natural disasters forced more than 19 million people from their homes in 2014 and the trend shows no signs of letting up, displacement experts said Monday.

And they say that more often than not the fact that millions of lives are devastated by earthquakes and flooding is because of man-made factors, rather than Mother Nature.

That's the finding of a new report by UN partner the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), which says governments should put safety at the core of their plans for future economic growth.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Every time a natural disaster strikes, one person is displaced every second.

That's according to a new report by UN partner the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), which also says that today there's a 60 per cent higher chance of being displaced by disaster than there was 40 years ago.

Asian countries are worst affected, according to IDMC director Alfredo Zamudio.

"Places such as the Philippines and China are examples of how countries vulnerable to disasters can be hit by multiple waves of displacement, and with each displacement event a person's ability to bounce back becomes harder and harder."

The problem affects rich and poor nations alike, where victims can be left homeless for decades.

In the United States, for instance, more than 56,000 people are still in need of housing after Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012.

IDMC's Afredo Zamudio says that many governments fail to prepare for the worst, with rapid urbanisation and population growth both driving the upward trend in displacement from disasters.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’09″

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