By Megan Rowling
BARCELONA, Dec 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) The growing impacts of climate change have already pushed more than 18 million people to migrate within South Asian countries, but that could triple in three decades if global warming continues on its current path , warned the researchers on Friday.
Nearly 63 million people could be forced to flee their homes by 2050 in the region as rising seas and rivers engulf villages and drought-stricken land no longer supports crops, ActionAid International and the Climate Action Network South Asia said in areport.
The projection does not include those who will be forced to flee unexpected disasters such as floods and cyclones and so it is likely to be an underestimation, noted Harjeet Singh, head of global climate at ActionAid.
He said the situation could become “catastrophic”.
Many will head from rural areas to cities and towns in their home countries, in search of work, he said.
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There they often end up living in poor areas exposed to floods and with very limited access to social services, doing precarious jobs, such as pulling rickshaw, building or manufacturing clothes.
“Policy makers in North Global and South Global are not yet waking up to this reality,” Singh told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “They do not understand the scale of the problem, and how we are going to deal with it [it]”
He called on nations rich in global warming to redouble their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and provide more funding for South Asian countries to develop and adapt cleanly. conditions on a warming planet.
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If governments meet a globally agreed goal of limiting warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, the number of people pushed to move to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal could be expected to nearly halve by 2050, it said. in the report.
It is based on research published in 2018 by the World Bank, which said that uncontrolled climate change could causemore than 140 million peopleto move within the borders of their countries by 2050 in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America.
The new report, which used an updated version of the same methodology, raises the original 2050 projection for South Asian migration by about half, adding new data on sea level rise as well as the effects of sea’s losses. ecosystem and droughts.
The new report also follows the expected migration on a more subtle scale.
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Preparing for movement
The projections have financial implications for countries such as India and Bangladesh, where poorer people often do not have the means to move away from their original homes to safer places without state support.
The new figures show that the largest number of people are expected to migrate to India by 2050, with more than 45 million.
But the country with the sharpest projected migration growth is Bangladesh, with a sevenfold increase from today.
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The report included examples collected from aid workers who have already been hit by worsening climate pressures.
In Pakistan’s dry Tharparkar district, Rajo, 37, and her husband, both workers, have relocated to three different locations in their area in the past three years to escape the famine caused by severe drought.
She lost a baby due to the heavy rise in her work and had to borrow money from the landowner to cover medical bills for her family, she told researchers.
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Kabita Maity, from an island in India’s Sundarbans delta region, has had to move five times since previous homes were turned by the sea.
“We will have to stay here until the sea forces us to leave, as we have no resources to buy land and move inland,” Maity was quoted as saying.
The report called on South Asian governments to do more to prepare for the worsening displacement associated with climate change and stressed the importance of action now to limit the number of people who will be forced to migrate in the future.
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Recommended strengthening social protection systems to provide money and jobs for those affected by climate extremes and improving essential services for migrant workers in cities now doubly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many jobless.
Measures that can help prevent “anxiety migration” include promoting agricultural methods that keep lands in good condition, managing water more efficiently, improving market access, or testing new crops and ways to make money, the report noted.
Where people have been displaced, authorities need to ensure that land is safe and fertile, property rights are secure and people have enough money to build new homes, he added.
Sanjay Vashist, director of the Climate Action Network, South Asia, said fighting poverty and inequality should also be part of regional responses to climate migration.
“South Asian leaders must join forces and prepare plans to protect displaced people,” he said in a statement.
(Report by Megan Rowling @meganrowling; edited by Laurie Goering. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers the lives of people around the world struggling to live free or fair. Visit http: // news .trust.org / klima)
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