17th October is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and the theme this year is “Acting together to empower children, their families, and communities to end poverty.” We all are aware that poverty is an abomination of the human race. Some people who are still struggling to lead a life without the need to look or beg for a meal. Though there has been a decrease in the rate of poverty over the years, it is needless to say that emerging countries are the first ones to be affected by the wrath of climate change. We know that climate change is at the forefront of many political and environmental debates among the developed and developing countries, but for poorer regions, particularly in Africa and South Asia, the effects of climate change are devastating as it is now part of their daily life. It is no surprise that climate change will affect these low-income communities the hardest as they are limited in resources and other aspects as well.
Low-income communities are mostly affected by the adverse impact of climate change around the world. Those in poverty have a higher chance of experiencing the ill-effects of climate change, which are due to increased exposure and vulnerability. Everywhere around the world, people are experiencing both the subtle and stark effects of this environmental change. With shifting weather patterns, rising sea levels and more extreme weather events, it is clear that developing countries will be the first victims of this calamity. Well, the effects of climate change are visible in every country on every continent, but the African and South Asian continents are the most affected ones. With an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like hurricanes, wildfires, and severe droughts, there is a constant threat to the world’s food supply that makes people leave their homes and their closed ones, thus jeopardizing their livelihoods and that of their family. These increase of the risk of conflict, hunger, and poverty, making these countries vulnerable to development.
Here are the ways that climate change is affecting developing countries.
Natural disasters making emerging countries poorer
As mentioned before, natural disasters are on the rise. Between 2000 and 2009, there has been an increase in extreme weather events as compared to the years between 1980 and 1989. The infrastructures are destroyed by floods, tsunamis, droughts, and other natural disasters. People in these areas often lack safe housing and limited access to health and other services; some of them live in overcrowded cities or outward rural villages, which are nonexistent to the world. Thus resulting in communities to suffer widespread diseases, shortages in food, clean water, and other necessities. According to an Oxfam report in 2009, if a disaster strikes in a developed country, the average number of death is 23 as compared to 1,025 deaths on average for under-developed ones. Alarming, isn’t it?
Greater in health risks
Activities, like driving cars and producing coal have introduced carbon dioxide and other toxic gases in the air we breathe. There has been a constant degradation in air quality, which has considerably affected the amount of oxygen in the respiratory system. Emerging countries are the main victims as industrialization has been the highest contributor in this decline. The greater health risk is cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and children in these countries are most affected. With the setting up of various industries in these countries to increase jobs, there has been an impact of climate change. Freshwater sources are shrinking, droughts are more frequent, there is a change in the water cycle. There is less purified water access to people living in those areas.
Coastal erosion and flooding
Over half of the world’s population is located within 40 miles of the sea, which makes them the first and foremost victims of sea rising levels. Coastal flooding is more prevalent because of rising sea levels, which impact economies that are dependent on climate-sensitive resources, such as agriculture and fishing and also force people to move to other places. Most water sources are contaminated due to flooding, thus increasing the transmission of water-borne diseases, such as Typhoid and Cholera. African coastal countries are the greater victims of cholera that is high among children.
The change in temperatures and rain patterns, have detrimental effects on farmers, thus resulting in food insecurity. It is normal that unfavorable weather has lower crop yields and decimate livestock, which makes it difficult for farmers and their families to sustain a proper lifestyle. The increase in massive food shortages and the increasing food prices are leading communities to famine.
The aftermath of droughts, famine, natural disasters, and other climate changes issues make people face the difficult situation of migrating somewhere else. People in developing countries are forcefully faced with the tough choice of either migrating to places where there are better living conditions.
What Are We Doing to Help Under-Developed Countries?
Many countries are working towards helping their communities in identifying their needs first and then focus on the other aspect of managing their resources. Each country is encouraged to take the lead by raising awareness of disaster risk reduction and engage households in developing and implementing personalized plants in order to enhance their resilience to climate change.