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Drought to force nearly 216M people to migrate by 2050

30 November 2023 08:00 (UTC+04:00)
Drought to force nearly 216M people to migrate by 2050

According to estimates, nearly 216 million people worldwide will be forced to migrate by 2050 due to drought-related factors such as water scarcity, rising sea levels, crop loss, and excessive population growth, Azernews reports, citing Anadolu Agency.

Experts note that the regions most affected will be the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East, where meteorological models indicate 30% less precipitation.

The Drought in Numbers 2022 report, released by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in May last year, revealed that an estimated 55 million people globally are directly affected by droughts every year.

Over 1.4 billion people were affected by drought from 2000 to 2019. This makes drought the disaster affecting the second-highest number of people, after flooding, according to the report.

“More than 10 million people died due to major drought events in the past century, causing several hundred billion US dollars in economic losses worldwide. And the numbers are rising,” said the report.

If global warming reaches three degrees Celsius by 2100 as some predict, drought losses could be five times higher than they are today, with the largest increase in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic regions of Europe, it added.

All countries must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve recovery in the field of drought, Hasan Tatli, head of the Geography Department at Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, told Anadolu.

“If you surpass a certain threshold, even if you later zero out emissions, you cannot prevent climate change. The majority of scientists agree that we have already passed that stage,” Tatli warned.

“There are very recent studies suggesting that even if you zero out emissions, the effects of climate change will last for at least 100 years," he said.

"The Mediterranean region, North Africa, and the Middle East are highly exposed to drought, and they are the most sensitive points to climate change,” according to Tatli.

Tatli underlined that major droughts are expected in these regions as meteorological models indicate 30% less precipitation.

"This will also lead to socio-economic problems, with climate migrations being at the forefront. Unfortunately, these climate migrations will occur through Türkiye, so the country will suffer a great deal from them,” he said.

“It is expected that only from North Africa and the Middle East, 500-600 million people will migrate northward,” the expert warned.

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