Climate change will escalate migration in South Asia in coming year: Study

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New Delhi, Dec 8 (IANS) Cautioning the South Asian countries, especially India to prepare themselves, a study said on Thursday that migration in south Asia will escalate uncontrollably due to climate change.

The study, “Climate Change Knows No Borders”, which was launched in Dhaka ahead of Global Forum on Migration and Development, to influence the policy makers made assessments of internal and external migrations in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and India.

The study was conducted by Action Aid, Climate Action Network South Asia and Bread for the World.

“South Asia region is particularly vulnerable to climate change events like drought, heat waves, cyclones, heavy rainfall, floods etc. South Asian countries need support from developed world. The UN’s Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage must work to ensure legal protection for people who are forced to migrate or are displaced by climate change,” Harjeet Singh, Action Aid’s Global Lead on Climate Change told IANS.

He added that in case of escalation of migration, India will have to face the extra burden because it will be the destination. In such cases, experts feel that India should be ready with a plan.

“South Asian governments unfortunately don’t see climate induced migration as an issue. SAARC is dysfunctional, India should take a lead,” Singh said.

As per International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), between 2008 to 2013 over 46 million people were displaced by sudden-onset disasters in South Asia. India ranked the highest within around 26 million people displaced in the same period.

“The sudden-onset disaster doesn’t include draught, seal level rise,” Singh pointed out.

The study pointed out the extreme weather events in South Asia in 2016 and how that affected the lives of people. Some events that study quoted included Cyclone Roanu that in May 2106, affected Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh causing damage worth $1.7 billion. It also pointed how India as well as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal faced one of the worse drought in 2016, affected over 330 million people in India alone.

As per a World Bank report released during COP22 at Marrakech, disasters due to climate change pushed over 24 million people to poverty. Another report released at Marrakech climate talks pointed out that 2016, followed by 2015 and 2014 is the hottest year so far.

“We urgently need more cross-border efforts to help people cope with the new normal of climate disasters and protect people who are forced to migrate,” said Sanjay Vashist, Climate Action Network South Asia’s Director.

–IANS

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