Billion To Be Displaced By 2050
By Agence France
15 May, 2007
At least one billion people risk fleeing their homes over the next four
decades because of conflicts and natural disasters that will worsen
with global warming, a relief agency warned Monday.
In a report, British-based
Christian Aid said countries worldwide, especially the poorest, are
now facing the greatest forced migration ever — one that will
dwarf those displaced by World War II.
In what at the time amounted
to “the largest population displacement in modern history,”
it said, 66 million people were displaced across Europe by May 1945,
in addition to the many millions more in China.
Today there are an estimated
163 million people worldwide who have been displaced by factors like
conflict, drought and flooding as well as economic development projects
like dams, logging and grain plantations, it said.
“We believe that forced
migration is now the most urgent threat facing poor people in the developing
world,” said John Davison, author of “Human Tide: the real
While the figure is already
“staggeringly high,” the report warned that “in future,
climate change will push it even higher.
“We estimate that over
the years between now and 2050, a total of one billion people will be
displaced from their homes,” the 52-page report said.
The figures include 645 million
who will migrate because of development projects, and 250 million because
of phenomena linked to global warming like floods, droughts and famine,
It said the conflict in western
Sudan’s Darfur region, which has displaced more than two million
people, was not just driven by political forces but also by competition
for increasingly scarce water and land to graze animals.
“Security experts fear
that this new migration will fuel existing conflicts and generate new
ones in the areas of the world — the poorest — where resources
are most scarce,” said a statement accompanying the report.
“A world of many more
Darfurs is the increasingly likely nightmare,” it added.
The problem is all the more
alarming as those displaced in their own countries have no rights under
international law and no official voice, it added.
The report also cited case
studies in Colombia, Mali and Myanmar, also known as Burma, as major
causes for concern.
With millions having fled
a civil war between paramilitary groups and guerrillas in the last 20
years, it said, Colombians are now seeing land taken by paramilitaries-turned
businessmen setting up palm oil and other plantations.
In Myanmar, it said ethnic
minority groups like the Karen had suffered decades of violence, displacement
and persecution only to see the military rulers now use the freed space
for dams, logging and palm oil plantations.
Climate change, it said,
will drive the growth of grain-producing plantations as rich countries
will raise demand for bio-fuels over crude oil in a bid to reduce carbon
emissions into the atmosphere.
“In Mali, the threat
from climate change is more immediate,” it said.
Crop yields have fallen sharply
with erratic and declining rainfall levels, forcing farmers to move
to feed their families.
Christian Aid, which was
created to help refugees from World War II, published the report to
mark the 50th door-to-door fundraising in Britain. It hopes to raise
15.5 million pounds (22.72 million euros, 30.7 million dollars).
Copyright © 2007 Agence
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