UN Predicts 50 Million Environmental Refugees by 2010

In other news about the impact of environmental problems on developing countries, the United Nations last week predicted that as many as 50 million people around the world could become “environmental refugees” by 2010 due to increasing drought, deforestation and declining soil fertility, all of which could be exacerbated by global warming.

“There are well-founded fears that the number of people fleeing untenable environmental conditions may grow exponentially as the world experiences the effects of climate change and other phenomena,” said Janos Bogardi, director of the United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security.

While victims of high-profile natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and last year’s Asian tsunami may be recognized as refugees and provided benefits as such, Bogardi and his colleagues lament that those uprooted by more gradual environmental change, such as encroaching deserts or increasing tides, receive little if any support from the world community even though their situations might be just as dire.

In order to better prepare for what could amount to an international environmental refugee crisis, the Institute is urging world leaders to “define, recognize and extend support” for those uprooted by environmental changes.

Source: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9670893