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Posted on on October 17th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Ethiopia: Official says climate change causing migration.

News From Africa – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, October 16, 2010 – Climate change is causing growing internal population migrations and displacements in Africa, a top official of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Chrysantus Ache, said Friday. Ache, the UNHCR representative at the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa, said more and more people were on the move, escaping climate change-induced disasters such as droughts and flooding.

Chrysantus Ache warned, at the Seventh African Development Forum, that the situation would become critical in coming years as the impact of global warming worsens.

‘We want people to understand that this impact (migration and displacement) was taking place now and that our efforts to mitigate climate change should be for to day and not for tomorrow’ he said.

According to him, more and more climate change-related disasters, such as flooding and drought, were striking Africa, throwing increasing numbers of people on the move in search of new livelihoods.

He noted that the migration was causing many problems, including conflicts over scarce resources and security risks.

Ache cited the Mbororo tribe in the Congo basin, which had become nomadic because of climate change-related disasters and migrated widely within the region, even across borders.

‘In some countries, they (Mbororo people) are accepted but in others, they are not because of security and conflict issues,’ he said.

‘Climate change is already undermining the livelihoods and security of many people, exacerbating income differentials and deepening inequalities. Over the last two decades, the number of recorded natural disasters has doubled from some 200 to over 400 per year. Nine out of every ten natural disasters today are climate-related,’ he said.

He warned that as temperatures rose further and land became increasingly less productive, urbanization in Africa will also accelerate, generating additional competition for scarce resources and public services in cities.

Other experts at the forum also warned that incidences of vector-borne diseases will increase as a result of climate change, as will the cost of food and energy.

In the end, this will cause increased social and political conflicts, which on the surface will be difficult to trace to climate change, they said.

from Addis Ababa  by Pana 16/10/2010

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