IMPACT

Climate change could force 216 million people to migrate – WB

The movement is highly within own countries.

In Summary

•Hotspots of internal climate migration could emerge as early as 2030 and continue to spread and intensify by 2050.

•Countries like Kenya are already experiencing impacts of climate change such as rising lakes in Rift Valley and drought cycles in some counties.

Carcasses of sheep that have died in drought in Marsabit bordering Lake Turkana.
MOST AFFECTED: Carcasses of sheep that have died in drought in Marsabit bordering Lake Turkana.
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

Up to 216 million people across six world regions could be forced to move within their countries by 2050, the World Bank has warned.

This is as a result of climate change, an increasingly potent driver of migration, its updated Groundswell report released yesterday notes.

Hotspots of internal climate migration could emerge as early as 2030 and continue to spread and intensify by 2050.

The report also finds that immediate and concerted action to reduce global emissions, and support green, inclusive, and resilient development, could reduce the scale of climate migration by as much as 80 percent.

Climate change is a powerful driver of internal migration because of its impacts on people’s livelihoods and loss of livability in highly exposed locations.

By 2050, Sub-Saharan Africa could see as many as 86 million internal climate migrants; East Asia and the Pacific, 49 million; South Asia, 40 million; North Africa, 19 million; Latin America, 17 million; and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 5 million.

“The Groundswell report is a stark reminder of the human toll of climate change, particularly on the world’s poorest—those who are contributing the least to its causes,” said Juergen Voegele, Vice President of Sustainable Development, World Bank. 

He said the report clearly lays out a path for countries to address some of the key factors that are causing climate-driven migration.

Countries like Kenya are already experiencing impacts of climate change such as rising lakes in Rift Valley and drought cycles in some counties.

In July this year, the government urged Kenyans to brace for harsh weather conditions between August and December that could lead to severe drought.

Counties such as Garissa, Isiolo, Kilifi, Mandera, Samburu, Tana River, Wajir, Lamu, Marsabit and Turkana are the hardest hit by the drought.

Changes in weather patterns have also on several occasioned affected food production, affecting the cost of living an the country's GDP which is hugely supported by agriculture.

“Decisive collective action could reduce climate migration by as much as 80 percent,” Word Bank notes.