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Global warming will worsen refugee problem: experts

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Governments and aid agencies worldwide are already straining to cope with 10 million refugees whose plight is in danger of being obscured by debates over a far greater wave of economic migrants and people escaping climatic chaos, say experts on World Refugee Day.

The number of people displaced by global warming could dwarf the nearly 10 million refugees and almost 25 million internally-displaced people already fleeing wars, oppressive regimes, civilian conflict and lawlessness, said experts on the occasion of World Refugee Day, June 20.

Coping with the masses of people seeking new places to live as their areas are devastated by climate change-related disasters, or are facing water and food shortages as a result of global warming, poses a new challenge to those working with refugees, in a world already weary of them.

“All around the world, predictable patterns are going to result in very long-term and very immediate changes in the ability of people to earn their livelihoods,” said Michele Klein Solomon of the International Organisation of Migration (IOM). “It’s pretty overwhelming to see what we might be facing in the next 50 years,” she added. “And it’s starting now.” Read the article

date of on-line publication : 26 June 2007

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