03/03/2022 0 Comments
Afghanistan: a land facing many challenges
Climate change is now a widespread emergency, but people living in "climate hotspots" or conflict zones are disproportionately affected. As the report of 2020 made by ActionAid, an international non-governmental organization, points out: 1,198,000 Afghans were internally displaced in 2019 because of climate disasters (Spink, 2020).
Conflicts may be the main trigger for displacement in Afghanistan; however, climate disaster is another non-negligible factor. But this reason is usually overlooked, as many governments do not recognize the link between climate change and migration.
Afghanistan’s geolocation is very much exposed to natural disasters, as it combines the Hindukush Mountain range and the desert in the south. In fact, about half of Afghanistan’s localities are known to be hazard-prone. Throughout the years the country has suffered from natural disasters, droughts and floods, affecting an average of 400,000 people each year (Spink, 2020).
This is made even more troubling with climate disasters heavily affecting Afghanistan’s agriculture, which represents half of Afghanistan’s GDP and 85% of Afghans’ incomes (Ibid). The drought in 2018-19 affected more than two-thirds of the country’s population, leaving around 9.8 million people in a food crisis (Ibid). This number is expected to double by 2050. A situation that only adds more fuel to the fire in this time of insecurity.
ActionAid predicts that if global warming isn’t limited at 1.5˚C, 5 million people will be forced to migrate due to climate disasters by 2050 (ActionAid International, 2021). This is why it is even more important for all states to cooperate in refugee settlements and for climate refugees to be legally recognized as refugees by the refugee convention.
ActionAid International (2021) Women and children most at risk as climate change and conflict drive migration in Afghanistan, ActionAid International. Available at: https://actionaid.org/news/2021/women-and-children-most-risk-climate-change-and-conflict-drive-migration-afghanistan (Accessed: 18 February 2022).
Mohammad, A., Hanh, N. and Jennifer, V. (2021) The impact of the Afghanistan crisis on migration: Increasingly securitized borders will only make migration riskier and more dangerous | Mixed Migration Centre. Available at: https://mixedmigration.org/articles/the-impact-of-the-afghanistan-crisis-on-migration/ (Accessed: 18 February 2022).
Refugees, U.N.H.C. for (2016) Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2016, UNHCR. Available at: https://www.unhcr.org/statistics/unhcrstats/5943e8a34/global-trends-forced-displacement-2016.html (Accessed: 31 December 2021).
Spink, P. (2020) Climate Change : Drives migration in conflict-ridden Afghanistan. Available at: https://www.sloga-platform.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Climate-change-migration-Afghanistan_0.pdf (Accessed: 18 February 2022).