MILLIONS more people will lose their homes each year worldwide if extreme weather events continue to increase with climate change, a charity has warned.

Forecasts by disaster relief charity ShelterBox, with Andrew Collins, professor of disaster and development at Northumbria University, suggests that, on current trajectories, almost 167 million homes could be lost to disasters by 2040.

UK homes are also under threat from climate-related extremes, with five million properties at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea, and disasters such as extreme rainfall that causes floods becoming more likely because of climate change, the charity said.

York has faced a series of terrible floods over the years - from the devastating floods of 2000 to Boxing Day 2015. 

York Press: Knavesmire under water November 1, 2000.Knavesmire under water November 1, 2000.

The UN has warned of an 83 per cent increase in climate-related disasters across the world in the last 20 years, and 30 million people were displaced by extreme weather events such as storms and floods in 2020, ShelterBox said.

Its forecast warns that, if the world continues to see climate-related weather extremes increase at current rates, nearly 42 million people a year face the loss of their homes in the next 20 years.

The world faces losing 8.35 million homes a year between now and 2040 - a total of 167 million homes, six times the total number of homes in the UK, it found.

ShelterBox is calling for world leaders to do more to help communities around the world who are being displaced by hurricanes, floods or droughts that are becoming more powerful and destructive due to the changing climate.

With the UK hosting the G7 summit in Cornwall this week and Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow in November, the charity is calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to show leadership and encourage other leaders to do more to help those at risk.

It wants the G7 to commit to not only cutting emissions, but to provide emergency shelter to communities hit by climate disasters, and support longer term projects to help countries cope with a warming world.

It is also calling for leaders to ensure vaccines are available and affordable to all countries, and support the logistics to get them to where they are needed.

While the loss of homes is a major impact of the climate crisis, ShelterBox also warns that Britons think of animals and the natural world first when they consider climate change.

A poll of more than 2,000 people by Censuswide for the charity found that, when presented with a series of options, 43 per cent said a polar bear on melting ice was the image that first came to mind about climate change, compared with just 8 per cent who thought of a human who had lost their home.

ShelterBox chief executive Sanj Srikanthan said: "When we think of climate change and habitat loss, we tend to think of the natural world first - polar bears on melting ice caps, or forests in flames.

"Those things are important, but we must recognise that, increasingly, extreme weather is having a devastating impact on people too.

"It is causing irreversible damage, robbing families of homes, livelihoods and loved ones."

He added that the charity supports families with almost 28,000 emergency shelters but warned the need is overwhelming.

"The number of displaced people is growing at a startling rate every year, and there is an unprecedented need for emergency shelter around the world," he said.

Prof Collins said: "The direction of current travel is clear for all to see and drastic actions need to be taken now, using the G7 and Cop26 negotiations to achieve the change we need.

"With displacement directly experienced from extreme weather events already increasing, the situation is further exacerbated by the cascading effects of climate change on regional instability and open conflict."