Friday, May 19, 2017

Climate change refugees

As the world focuses on conflict-related migration and displacement, with an unprecedented 60 million fleeing from war and persecution, others are pointing to a less discussed trigger of population movements: climate change.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), an average of 22.5 million people have been displaced each year by climate or weather-related disasters in the last seven years, equivalent to 62,000 people every day. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that between 25 million and 200 million people could be displaced by 2050 because of climate change. Though IOM has a working definition of an environmental migrant, there is still no internationally accepted definition.

Niger is one such country experiencing the effects of climate change from recurrent droughts to the slow disappearance of Lake Chad. Tamir Afifi from the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) told participants that communities lost their livestock and thus their primary source of livelihoods as a result of the diminishing lake. “They completely lost their identity,” he said, adding that migration became a strategy to cope with food insecurity and climate change. Since the environment stresses have become so strong… that when people move, they actually don’t come back or they don’t come back for a while. It is not associated anymore to the seasonal events as it used to be,” Afifi continued.
In the U.S., one Native American tribe is being forced off their home on Isle de Jean Charles off the coast of Louisiana due to rising sea levels, law professor Maxine Burkett told attendees. The island has lost 98 percent of its land since 1955.

0 comments: