Disaster displacement: how to reduce risk, address impacts and strengthen resilience

Reducing risk, saving lives

Every year, some 25 million people flee from sudden onset disasters such as floods, storms, mudslides, earthquakes, tsunamis, and more. When slow onset disasters are added, the numbers of people displaced each year easily rises beyond 200 million.

In 2019, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) partnered with the Platform on Disaster Displacement and the Norwegian Refugee Council to produce the Words into Action guidelines on Disaster Displacement. The goal of the guidelines is to explain how governments can practically implement Sendai Framework Target (e) to reduce the risk of disaster displacement and related human suffering.

Disaster displacement

25 Million people

are displaced by sudden onset disasters every year, but this figure rises when drought, famine or other slow onset disasters are added.

Source: iDMC

East Asia and Pacific

9.3 Million people

were displaced by disaster in 2018, making this region the world’s most affected.

Source: iDMC


6 Measures

advised by UNDRR to reduce the impact of disaster displacement.


Mami Mizutori

A Q&A, interview and a podcast

Q&A Mami Mizutori
With Mami Mizutori
With climate change making extreme weather events much more frequent and intense, it is projected that disaster displacement will increase, particularly in developing countries.
Nina Birkeland
With Nina Birkeland
The statistics may have failed to capture it, but disaster displacement could affect as many as 200 million people per year, says the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Nina Birkeland.
Words into Action
A 6-steps solution
How countries and communities can ensure they are robustly prepared to respond to displacement and respond resiliently when displacement does occur.
Listen now
Atle Solberg

Disaster displacement: impacts and responses

Fleeing disaster can mean the difference between life and death. But displacement can also create new risks if not properly addressed. Learn about 10 big impacts displacement can have and six steps countries can take to reduce potential damages.

6 Steps to reduce risk, explained

Effective disaster risk reduction strategies can prevent displacement. Recognising risks, mitigating them when possible, and ensuring communities are well-prepared helps avoid displacement and respond when it does occur.

Taking Action: A video series

Strengthen Governance

Preparedness and Response

Resilience and Durable solutions

Understanding Displacement

Jan Egeland

Displacement timeline and the goal of Sendai Framework Target B

Sendai Framework Target B is the goal to substantially reduce the number of people affected by disasters globally by 2030.


4 million people displaced by Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, that devasted large parts of the Philippines.


2.8 million people displaced by earthquakes in Nepal.


up to 90% of homes destroyed by Hurricane Matthew, the strongest storm to hit the Caribbean in 2016, with Haiti suffering the most impacts.


The Words into Action series

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