Coinciding with Earth Day on Thursday 22 March, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, has released data showing how climate change-related disasters are likely to worsen poverty, hunger and access to resources. natural, fueling instability and violence.
“From Afghanistan to Central America, droughts, floods and other extreme weather events are affecting those least equipped to recover and adapt,” said the UN agency, which calls on countries to work together to combat change. climate and mitigate its impact on hundreds of people. of millions of people.
Since 2010, weather emergencies have forced an average of 21.5 million people to travel a year.
Countries of origin most affected
UNHCR said around 90% of refugees come from countries that are most vulnerable and least ready to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
These countries also host around 70% of internally displaced persons due to conflict or violence.
Citing the case of Afghanistan, UNHCR noted that it is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, as nearly all of its 34 provinces have been affected by at least one disaster in the past 30 years.
The country is also ranked as the least peaceful in the world, due to a longstanding conflict that has killed and injured thousands of people and millions of displaced people.
Chronic floods, drought
Recurrent floods and droughts – along with population growth – have exacerbated food insecurity and water scarcity and reduced the prospects of refugees and internally displaced people returning to their areas of origin, UNHCR said.
It indicated that 16.9 million Afghans – nearly half of the country’s population – did not have enough food in the first quarter of 2021, including at least 5.5 million facing emergency levels of food deprivation.
By mid-2020, more than 2.6 million Afghans were internally displaced and another 2.7 million were living as registered refugees in other countries, mainly Pakistan and Iran, according to UNHCR.
Mozambique is experiencing a similar confluence of conflicts and multiple disasters, the agency says, with one cyclone after another hitting the central region of the country as increased violence and unrest north displaces hundreds of thousands of people.