June 16, 2024

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Why has climate migration in Brazil become a global crisis?

Why has climate migration in Brazil become a global crisis?

Brazilian state governor Eduardo Leite said during a press conference: “What is happening in Rio Grande do Sul now is very dangerous, ridiculous and unusual, and unfortunately, it will get worse.” Press Conference At the beginning of what has become the worst climate disaster to affect the region.

Persistent rains and devastating floods in the southern Brazilian state have killed 150 people, affected 2.1 million others, displaced 620,000 residents and injured 807 people, according to United Nations statistics. Civil defense officials.

Shocking images from the area show a once-vibrant city and abundant farmland completely underwater.

The Guayba River in Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state, could reach unprecedented levels of more than 18 feet in the coming days, according to local officials.

Officials estimate that the southern state’s recovery could mean building entirely new cities, which raises the question, when an extreme weather event leaves your home uninhabitable, where do you go?

“We have a series of challenges and we cannot rule out having to remove entire cities from their places, that is, rebuilding cities in other locations,” said Gabriel Souza, deputy governor of Rio Grande do Sul. He told local media Thursday.

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Jairo Jorge, mayor of Canoas, a city on the Rio Grande, said Thursday Local media There are currently 19,000 people in 79 shelters and 80,000 people have been evacuated to the homes of relatives and friends on higher ground.

“Most climate migration and displacement will be internal,” Alex Randall, head of programs at Climate Awareness and a specialist in climate-driven migration, told ABC News, adding: “As climate-driven disasters become more regular and more extreme, more people will inevitably be displaced.” Because of those events.”

What is climate migration?

Climate migration, or climate-related mobility, refers to the sudden or gradual displacement of individuals due to changes in the environment that affect their living conditions, according to the United Nations. International Organization for Migration.

According to the Immigration data portalAt least 7.7 million people in 82 countries and territories are living in internal displacement as a result of climate disasters.

In the coming years, up to 216 million people could become internal climate migrants by 2050, according to World Bank estimates. World Bank The organization that works to combat poverty with 189 member countries.

“This is one of the many warning signs,” Lawrence Huang, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, told ABC News of the ongoing flooding in Brazil. “There is a wide range of things we call climate migration, some voluntary, some forced. In some cases, it happens when entire communities become unlivable or uninhabitable and are forced to move.”

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Mass climate migrations were seen following the 2022 monsoon floods in Pakistan, with more than 1.5 million people remaining displaced in the country until the end of 2023. According to the United Nations.

Huang said that social and economic pressure in Pakistan, coupled with the environmental catastrophe, has led to an increase in the number of people seeking asylum in Europe, although most climate migration remains internal.

From severe drought in East Africa to raging wildfires in Canada, the power of climate migration comes in many forms — but it is often the most vulnerable communities that suffer the most, according to Huang.

“We know that when disasters happen, wealthy people are able to evacuate and are able to rebuild elsewhere, so it’s often low- and middle-income people who don’t have the capacity,” Huang said. “We saw that in the United States with Hurricane Katrina.”

In August 2005, a Category 3 hurricane made landfall in southeastern Louisiana, killing 1,833 people, displacing 1 million residents and causing 3 million individuals to register for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance.

“In the United States, race and poverty are closely linked,” Randall said. “Racialized communities are therefore more likely to face more extreme displacement in the face of climate-induced disasters.”

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Marking one of the most stunning natural disasters in American history, Hurricane Katrina warnings are as important today as ever.

Regarding public opinion towards climate migration, Huang believes: “We need to do more to communicate with people and explain to them that this is how migration works.”

“We will see increased instability and increased mobility, both internally within the United States and in the rest of the world, as the effects of climate change worsen,” Huang said.