Biggest Refugee Crisis Ever, Still Has No Name

By on August 7, 2017

August 7, 2017

What is predicted to the largest ever refugee crisis, the result of climate change and the concurrent rise in sea level, has already begun, according to an article in Motherboard. Much of the displacement will occur in areas with nowhere near the resources that are available in the United States, where some jurisdictions are starting to make major expenditures on attempts at mitigation. Miami, for example, is currently spending millions to raise roads and install water pumps. Estimates for the number of people that will be displaced by 2050 range from 25 million up to a billion, with most estimates falling around 200 million, equal to about two-thirds of the U.S. population. A province of Panama called Kuna Yala, which includes an archipelago formerly referred to as the San Blas Islands, is a textbook example of what’s in the offing, according to the Motherboard article. “Beyond the realities of climate-related disaster lies a more technical problem: The definition of ‘refugee; in international law does not offer explicit guarantees, such as legal protection and social rights, to people whose situations would otherwise offer them the label ‘climate refugees.’ The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) acknowledges the realities of coastal communities like the Kuna, but in light of the legal complexities of the term ‘refugee,’ the agency chooses to use the phrase ‘persons displaced in the context of climate change.’”

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