Almost 20 million people forced out of their homes from natural disasters in 2014

A report published by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on July 20 has revealed that almost 20 million people were forced to flee their homes because of floods, storms, earthquakes and other natural disasters last year. It's a problem that will likely only grow worse in the face of global climate change, though it's one that can be partially mitigated by better disaster preparedness and stronger construction practices.

Asia is the site of 90 percent of the 19.3 million displaced souls mentioned by the report, primarily due to 2014's particularly rough typhoon season in China and the Philippines, and India's recent struggle with wide scale flooding.

Alfredo Zamudio, the director of the NRC's Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, says that "disaster-related displacement is on the rise and threatens to get worse in coming decades." The council's analysis, he added, heavily linked the scale of natural disasters with greenhouse gas admissions. "You are 60 percent more likely," he says, "to be displaced by disasters today than you were in the 1970s. Climate change is expected to play a strong role in the future by increasing the frequency and intensity of such hazards."

While Asia experienced the brunt of the displacement, things have still been rough on the homefront, with nearly 40,000 people in the United States still in need of housing assistance after 2012's devastating Hurricane Sandy. The risk of devastating natural disasters will never go away, which is why homeowners need the best insurance coverage possible to help protect their home, which is perhaps their biggest investment. 

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