Extreme weather events fueled by climate change are causing widespread hunger, according to a report published by OxFam International.
From widespread flooding to persistent drought, people around the world are being displaced from their homes and having their livelihoods destroyed. These extreme weather events are increasing poverty and hunger, while also contributing to tension and conflict.
“Our climate isn’t just changing; it has changed,” the report said. “These new and worsening weather extremes are increasingly peeling away the abilities of poor people, particularly in low-income countries, to stave off hunger and cope with the next shock.”
OxFam gathered food security data for people living in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Somalia and Zimbabwe, which are the 10 nations that submitted the most U.N. assistance requests for extreme weather events since 2000.
The number of people living in situations of acute food insecurity in these nations has risen from 21 million to 48 million since 2016. Put another way, 21.3% of these 10 nations’ combined residents faced “food deprivation that threaten[ed] lives or livelihoods” in 2016 compared to 47.5% by 2021.
The significant challenges facing these nations illustrate the inequities of negative environmental impacts resulting from carbon emissions, with OxFam noting that these 10 countries account for less than 1% of global emissions.
“Countries that are least resourced to cope with the climate crisis are also the least responsible for it,” the report said. “Meanwhile, rich countries, rich people and mega corporations build their wealth through emission intensive activities.”
Humanitarian aid systems are being asked to handle a higher number of crises, pushing these systems beyond their capacities to meet the ever-increasing need.
With the world on target to hit a 2.7 Celsius increase beyond pre-industrial levels by 2050, more than 720 million additional people will likely face acute food insecurity. In addition, around half of the global population are projected to face water shortages by 2030.
“Climate change is no longer a ticking bomb; it is exploding before our eyes. It is making extreme weather such as droughts, cyclones, and floods – which have increased five-fold over the past 50 years – more frequent and more deadly,” Gabriela Bucher, Oxfam International Executive Director, said in a press release announcing the report.
“For millions of people already pummeled down by ongoing conflict, widening inequalities, and economic crises, repeated climate shocks are becoming a backbreaker,” she said. “The onslaught of climate disasters is now outpacing poor people’s ability to cope, pushing them deeper into severe hunger.”
The full report is available here.