Card #39: Climate Refugees
Imagine that you live in a place that has been miraculously spared from climate change. Several billion people may wish to share this space with you.
To go further
In 2018, extreme climatic events such as droughts in Afghanistan, cyclone Gita in Samoa, floods in the Philippines led to numerous population displacements. According to the IDMC (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre) it is estimated that there will be more than 20 million climate refugees per year in the decade 2008-2018.
From 2011 to 2012, cross-border movement of Somalis to Kenya and Ethiopia in a context of drought, food insecurity and starvation, while conflict and violence also prevail in south and central Somalia.
Between 1984 and 1985 the Ethiopian government had to resettle several tens of thousands of people from drought-stricken areas.
Asia and the Pacific
Of the 10 countries with the largest share of their displaced population, 7 are Pacific or Caribbean islands.
A European Parliament report estimates that there are 200,000 climate refugees in Bangladesh.
Migration and Climate Change reports from the IOM (International Organization for Migration) of the United Nations :
- Cartaret Islands in Papua New Guinea,
- residents of the Lateu village in Vanuatu,
- the movements of the inhabitants of Shishmaref on the Sarichef ise in Alaska
- refugees linked to the flooding of Lohachara Island in the heart of the Hooghly River (a tributary of the Ganges River in India)
Note: for the moment, these four examples remain debatable as to their origins being linked to anthropogenic warming. However, future events are less and less debatable as the effects become more severe.
One in ten inhabitants of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu have had to migrate because of climate change.
In 2003 the US Immigration Service temporarily (for 2 years) expanded the status of 80,000 refugees from Honduras who had to flee Hurricane Mitch.
- IDM Country displacement data
- United Nations International protection in the context of nexus dynamics between conflict or violence and disaster or climate change
- European Parliament The concept of 'climate refugee' Towards a possible definition
- THE NANSEN INITIATIVE Human Mobility, Natural Disasters and Climate Change in the Pacific, 2013