Nov 28, 2023 - World

1.2 million in Latin America displaced by disasters, study finds

A blaze outside of Manaus, Brazil, on Oct. 4. Photo: Gustavo Basso/NurPhoto via Getty Images

More than 1 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean were internally displaced in 2021 because of disasters that were worsened by climate change, a new study finds.

The big picture: The World Bank predicts that more than 216 million people could be displaced by climate change by 2050 — with 17 million of those coming from Latin America — putting pressure on migration, food supplies and housing.

By the numbers: Roughly 1.2 million people in Latin America were forced to flee their homes, according to an analysis of 2021 census data.

  • In Brazil, more than half a million people needed to migrate internally due to climate-related disasters. That was the most of any nation in 2021, the report said.
  • Haiti followed with 220,000 people, then Cuba with 194,000.

Details: The report's authors predict the number of people displaced by climate change will grow because of an overall lack of policies tackling the problem.

  • A review of 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean found that the region invests only 0.18% of its overall GDP into fighting climate change.
  • The report warned that climate migration was the most pressing result due to the lack of political will to tackle climate change.

Zoom out: This month, a dangerous heat wave swept across Brazil, breaking temperature records. The heat was blamed for a woman's death at a Taylor Swift concert in Rio de Janeiro.

Flashback: Leaders from the eight nations that share the Amazon rainforest promised in a joint statement in August to work towards "deforestation zero," but they did not commit to a roadmap for achieving it, Axios Latino's Marina E. Franco reports.

  • They announced a joint agreement with 113 provisions, starting with a promise to "combine efforts at the highest level" to set a common agenda for sustainability and conservation.
  • Climate action organizations like the World Wildlife Fund said the joint declaration does not go far enough.

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