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Climate change could cause 216 million people to migrate, World Bank warns

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Without immediate action to combat climate change, rising sea levels, water shortages and declining crop productivity could force 216 million people to migrate within their countries by 2050, the World Bank said in a report. re on monday.

The report, Groundswell 2.0, modeled the impacts of climate change in six regions, concluding that climate migration hotspots will emerge as soon as 2030 and intensify by 2050, hitting the most parts the world’s poorest.

Sub-Saharan Africa alone would account for 86 million internal migrants, with 19 million more in North Africa, the report showed, while 40 million migrants were expected in South Asia and 49 million in East Asia and the Pacific.

Such moves will put considerable stress on both sending and receiving areas, straining cities and urban centers and jeopardizing development benefits, the report said.

For example, rising sea levels threaten rice production, aquaculture and fisheries, which could create a hotspot outside immigration in Vietnam’s lower Mekong Delta. But the Red River Delta and the central coast region, where those people are likely to flee, face their threats, including severe storms.

Conflicts and health and economic crises such as those triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic could complicate the situation, the bank said. And the number of climate migrants may be much higher as the ratio does not cover most high-income countries, countries in the Middle East and small island states, or migration to other countries.

The authors of the reports say their findings should be seen as an urgent call on regional and national governments and the global community to act now to reduce greenhouse gases, close development gaps and restore ecosystems. Doing so, they said, could reduce the number of migration by 80 percent to 44 million people.

They were already locked in a certain amount of heat, so climate migration is a reality, said Kanta Kumari Rigaud, banks’ environmental specialist and one of the co-authors of the reports. We need to reduce or cut our greenhouse gases to reach the Paris target, because those climate impacts will escalate and increase the rate of climate migration.

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