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As Wildfires, Flooding, Hurricanes Multiply, Climate Migration Begins

“More than 1 million disaster-related displacements have occurred each year on average in the U.S. since 2016. Some people never return home.”

“In the fall of 2015, the Valley Fire tore through Lake County in Northern California. Gina Waldon watched from her home in Middletown as the fire raged through the canyons and forests nearby. By the time the fire was contained, Waldon’s home had burned down and her husband’s business was lost.

“We barely got out with the clothes on our back and the animals,” she said.

Five years later, fires are burning again across the West. But this time, Waldon is living far from the flames, in a home in Wyoming that feels like a sanctuary. Her displacement is one of more than 1 million that have occurred on average in recent years in the U.S. as a result of disaster. That figure is likely to grow as climate change increases the severity of wildfires, hurricanes, and coastal flooding.

Although it’s difficult to predict the number of people who may be displaced by disasters like hurricanes and wildfires in the future, six feet of sea level rise alone could force 13.1 million Americans to move by 2100.”

Samantha Harrington reports for Yale Climate Connections September 22, 2020.


“‘They're Suffering Now': Californians Scramble To Adapt To Daily Reality Of Climate Crisis” (Guardian)

“How Climate Migration Will Reshape America” (New York Times Magazine)