Someone is forced to leave their home every two seconds due to climate-fuelled disasters, Oxfam has claimed.

A report published today by the charity reveals that more than 20 million people a year have been forced to leave their properties due to events such as floods, wildfires or cyclones over the last decade, making climate-related emergencies the number one reason for internal displacement.

Oxfam’s briefing ‘Forced from Home’ found people are seven times more likely to be driven from their homes due to these events than they are by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and three times more likely than by conflict.

The report comes as a UN climate summit begins in Madrid, with delegates expected to focus on the issue of financial support for communities, including displaced communities, which have suffered loss and damage because of the climate crisis.

Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland said:”Our governments urgently need to get to grips with a climate crisis that is driving millions of women, men and children from their homes.

“The poorest people in the poorest countries are paying the heaviest price - climate change is forcing people around the globe – hungry farmers in Guatemala, pastoralists in Ethiopia and those hit by cyclones in Asia or Southern Africa – to abandon their homes and face up to an uncertain future.

“In the last year we’ve seen people taking to the streets in Glasgow and across the globe to demand urgent climate action.

“If politicians ignore their pleas, more people will die, more people will go hungry and more people will be forced from their homes.”

While recent wildfires in Australia and floods in Europe have displaced thousands of people, Oxfam’s analysis shows that people in poor countries, who bear least responsibility for global carbon pollution, are most at risk.

Around 80 percent of all people displaced in the last decade live in Asia, home to 60 per cent of the world’s population and over a third of the people globally who are living extreme poverty.

The charity claims the report reinforces the need to slash emissions and increase support to those already impacted by the climate crisis.

In September, the Scottish Government confirmed plans to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 and set a target of net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045 - five years earlier than the rest of the UK.

However, Oxfam says this will still see the country contributing to a historic climate debt for the next three decades.

Scotland also has a Climate Justice Fund to support those impacted by the climate crisis.

Mr Livingstone added: “Governments can and must make Madrid matter.

“They must commit to faster, deeper emissions cuts and they must establish a new ‘Loss and Damage’ fund to help poor communities recover from climate disasters.”

The charity claims the unequal impacts of climate change are apparent across the globe.

In March, Cyclone Idai displaced 51,000 people in Zimbabwe. The most affected communities were in rural areas where poor infrastructure and housing were unable to withstand the heavy rains and wind.

The Oxfam research also showed that nearly five percent of the population of Cuba, Dominica and Tuvalu, were displaced by extreme weather each year in the decade between 2008 and 2018.

People in low- and lower-middle income countries such as India, Nigeria and Bolivia are over four times more likely to be displaced by extreme weather disasters than people in rich countries such as the United States.  

Displaced women are particularly vulnerable as they face high levels of sexual violence.

The UN is due to conclude a review of the progress made under the ‘Warsaw Mechanism on Loss and Damage’ at the summit in Madrid and developing countries will be pushing for the establishment of a new fund to help communities recover and rebuild after climate shocks.

The UN Climate Summit takes place in Madrid from December 2 to 13.

It comes just 12 months before world leaders arrive in Glasgow for talks which are pivotal in shaping global action to slash emissions over the next 10 years.

Up to 30,000 delegates are expected to attend COP26 at Glasgow’s Scottish Events Campus (SEC) at the end of next year.

Lasting for two weeks, it would be the largest summit the UK has ever hosted, with up to 200 world leaders expected to attend for the final weekend.