By Safura Rahimi
Climate change and impact of large-scale development projects could lead to a major displacement by 2050.
The Middle East and South Asia are at the forefront of a climate change catastrophe, according to a Christian Aid report released yesterday.
The report, entitled ‘Human tide: the real migration crisis', says that a combination of large-scale development projects, conflict and widespread environmental deterioration will make life unsupportable for hundreds of millions of people, mostly in the Sahara belt, south Asia and the Middle East.
These regions are also at most risk for climate change and growing competition for scarce resources.
"The spread of desert regions, a scarcity of water, coastal erosion, declining arable land, damage to infrastructure from extreme weather: all this could undermine security," the report says.
Changing weather patterns could also lead to a billion people - or about one in seven of the global population - forced to leave their homes by 2050 if action is not taken.
"A staggering number of people are being pushed aside to make way for dams, roads and other large-scale development projects," the report says.
This includes 105 million people being displaced by large development projects, a number that could rise to 645 million by 2050 due to the construction of dams and other development projects.
"While the science of climate change prediction is still weak, in terms of pinpointing exactly where and when, one area where it is strong is in the Middle East," Andrew Pendleton, senior climate policy advisor to Christian Aid, told Gulf News.
"Water scarcity is going to be a major concern. We have already seen issues over water and national boundaries; climate change is going to make this worse," he was quoted as saying.
The report is based on the latest UN population and climate change figures.