Out of Africa flashback: Is the world witnessing a migration wave due to lack of water?

What is the news?

A recent World Bank report titled Web and Flow: Water, Migration and Development, analysed the “largest dataset on internal migrants” assembled from 64 countries and 189 censuses during 1960-2015.

Findings are listed below.

What are the findings of the report?

Firstly, the report argues that water scarcity is a major reason for internal migration in the contemporary world.  The recent anthropogenic changes have made us more prone to water scarcity than five million years ago.

Secondly, low rainfall events account for 10-11% of the increase in migration between 1970 and 2000.

Thirdly, the water scarcity-driven waves of migration have been more eminent in developing and poor countries.

Fourthly, while dry spells or lack of water ranked just below education as a reason for migration, in many countries, this has become a more decisive driver of migration.

Fifthly, in the last three decades, an average 25% of the world’s population suffered abnormal rainfalls annually.

Sixthly, increasing dry spells, as predicted in a changed climate scenario, would fasten the rate of migration. The poorest in a region would be left behind to fend for themselves in areas ravaged by deficit rainfalls. It says that 80% of the poorest population would not be able to migrate out even though left with no adequate water as migration involves costs and also certain skills.

Must Read: Climate-induced migration – Explained

Source: This post is based on the article “Out of Africa flashback: Is the world witnessing a migration wave due to lack of water?” published in Down to Earth on 6th Sep 2021.

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