There is no commonly accepted definition of who is a ‘climate migrant’ or ‘climate refugee’. Some of the experts claim that those terms cover a spectrum: from people who have to move – even if temporarily – because of natural disasters, through to those affected by the slow-onset impacts of the climate emergency. Moreover, manymore people migrate within the boundaries of their countries, rather than leaving the country entirely,and the migration itself is caused by many factors: social, political, environmental and demographic. Climate change multiplies those threats.
Immediately before and after the Katrina hurricane hit New Orleans in 2005 at least 70% of inhabitants left the city. Today’s population of New Orleans is smaller by around 60 thousand. Between now and 2050 in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and South Asia, 143 million people will be internally displaced as a result of climate change, according to the World Bank’s report from 2018.
In Rift Valley, Kenya, thousands of people have been internally displaced and farms submerged due to heavy rains, climate change, and deforestation. Since 2013, the water level of Lake Baringo has been raised by 12 meters, destroying tourism and agriculture in the region.
Floods caused by heavy rains in Sudan destroyed at least 100 thousand houses. Over half a million Sudanese were affected, and 99 people died. The rates of floods and rains exceeded record highs from 1946 and 1988.