In 2012 and 2013 millions of people were forced from their homes by floods, storms, and other weather-related disasters. Millions more were affected by droughts, desertification, and degradation of the land, air, and water. While impacts are being felt in rich and poor countries alike, it is the most vulnerable people who suffer most.
The island of Leyte in the Philippines may be one of the only places in the world where beachfront property is completely undesirable. Those who live along Leyte's eastern beaches know that the sea's destructive power can suddenly sweep away everything they hold dear.
On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons ever to make landfall, cut a path of destruction across the central Philippines, killing more than 6,000 people and displacing approximately four million.
Two weeks ago, the High Court of New Zealand rejected a Kiribati man’s request for asylum as a “climate change refugee.” Ione Teitiota argued that he should be entitled to protection as a refugee because rising sea levels and environmental hazards caused by climate change were endangering his life on Kiribati, a low-lying island nation in the South Pacific.
It’s been over three years since the earthquake in Haiti devastated the capital Port-au-Prince, killing an estimated 230,000 people and leaving 1.2 million homeless.
Despite forecasts indicating a good harvest this fall, millions of vulnerable people across West Africa’s Sahel region will not have enough food to eat again this year. Many are still reeling from 2011-12, when poor rains and high food prices left 18 million people without sufficient food and a million children at risk of starvation.
In the shade of a tree, a group of girls crush rocks, pounding away relentlessly with heavy stone clubs. It is the middle of the day here in Boulyiba, Burkina Faso. The dry season is almost at an end, and the temperature hovers above 100°F, yet these girls have a great deal of hard work ahead of them. Their father, Assane, has brought a whole pile of rocks back from a gold mine 15 kilometers from their village.
This post originally appeared on the SahelNow blog.
If you drive along the roads of northern Burkina Faso, as my colleagues and I have these past two weeks, you won’t always see the usual signs of human activity. While the population here is growing rapidly, the Sahel remains a sparsely populated region, and desiccated savannah dominates the landscape – stretching for miles into the distance.