As if armed conflict and economic downturn were not enough doom, climate change is likely to accelerate humanitarian crises around the world in 2023. According to a recent International Rescue Committee (IRC) study titled ‘Emergency Watchlist 2023,’ the number of people in humanitarian need has increased dramatically over the last decade.
According to the report, the current number of such people is around 340 million, while the number of people in need of humanitarian aid in 2014 was slightly more than 80 million.
Climate change has played a significant role in this increase, emerging as the single most impactful factor pushing people into greater misery; human emergencies have accelerated around the world, particularly in the 20 worst-affected countries, which include Afghanistan and Haiti.
According to the IRC report, the 20 worst-affected countries by climate change contribute only 2% of global carbon emissions. Despite a large number of climate change deniers, including those in the world’s most developed countries, the role of climate change in hastening the global humanitarian crisis is undeniable.
Pakistan has become a victim of climate change in addition to long periods of rain in some regions, which cause catastrophic food insecurity, particularly in countries such as Ethiopia and Somalia. There is a need to invest much more proactively to prevent climate change, and this investment must come from industrialised and rich countries.
Without concrete mitigation efforts from the Global North, the underserved countries of the Global South will continue to suffer. These countries face a significant risk of food insecurity, which is already widespread in some areas. To top it all off, growing conflicts are causing economic crises all over the world. One example is the crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Diseases and pandemics, such as COVID-19, are also a constant threat. The coronavirus pandemic may be coming to an end, but other viruses could emerge from nowhere.
In all of this, there is a need for increased funding for humanitarian aid, as the world is in a global deficit of more than $27 billion as of November 2022. All donors must respond proportionately so that communities affected directly by climate change can access the services they require to survive.
Rebuilding and recovery efforts for millions of internally displaced people pose a challenge for countries such as Pakistan.
There are nearly 100 million people worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes, up from 60 million in 2014. Because it is almost certain that the developing world will experience an increase in acute hunger, rich and developed countries must drastically reduce their emissions. People’s misery will continue to rise in 2023 and beyond unless they increase their efforts to compensate low-income countries.
According to a recent Oxfam report, acute hunger has increased by 123% in the ten worst-affected countries over the last six years. All of this necessitates immediate and drastic action.